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U.S. Removed Nuclear Weapons from Largest German Base, Documents Indicate

U.S. Removed Nuclear Weapons from Largest German Base, Documents Indicate
07-09-2007

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The U.S. Air Force has removed Ramstein Air Base from a list of installations that receive periodic nuclear weapons inspections, indicating that nuclear weapons previously stored at the base may have been permanently removed and withdrawn to the United States.
 
If correct, the withdrawal reduces the number of U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in Europe from approximately 440 to an estimated 350 B61 bombs, or roughly equivalent to the size of the entire French nuclear weapons arsenal.
 
The list is contained in the unclassified instruction Nuclear Surety Staff Assistance Visit (NSSAV) and Functional Expert Visit (FEV) Program Management, which was published by the U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) on January 29, 2007. The instruction superseded an earlier version from March 29, 2005, which included Ramstein Air Base.
 
The apparent removal of nuclear weapons from Ramstein Air Base also casts in doubt the continued nuclear strike mission of the German xx Fighter Wing at Nörvenich Air Base because the weapons for the wing were stored at Ramstein. If correct, the withdrawal from Ramstein would leave only a single nuclear weapons base in Germany: Büchel Air Base. The reduction is a dramatic development compared with the 1980s, when the United States stored nuclear weapons at dozens of facilities in the country.
 
Including Büchel Air Base, U.S. nuclear weapons are stored at seven bases in six NATO countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
 

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