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[OPIRG-EVENTS] Nuclear Bombers in Ottawa, Again!

Nuclear Bombers in Ottawa, Again!

Of the 31 different types of military aircraft scheduled to entertain 
Ottawa crowds this weekend (Fathers' Day), 25% have been designated as part 
of the nuclear arsenal.  As such, these warplanes have played a significant 
and integral role in nuclear war fighting strategies:

B-1B Lancer (US)
EA-6B Intruder (US)
F-15 Eagle (US)
F-15E Strike Eagle (US)
F-16 Fighting Falcon (US)
F-16C Fighting Falcon (US)
F-18 Hornet (US)
Tornado (Germany)

The Pentagon currently includes the F-15E and the F-16s as part of its 
"non-strategic nuclear forces."

During previous years, the Ottawa war show has hosted a variety of other 
nuclear bombers, including:

AV-8B Harrier (US)
B-2 Spirit (US)
B-52 Stratofortress (US)
F-117 Nighthawk (US)
F-4 Phantom II (US)
F/A-18 (Hornet)
Jaguar (UK)
MiG-29 (Germany)
Tornado (UK)
Tornado (Italy)

The B-2 and B-52H are currently part of the Pentagon's "strategic nuclear 
forces."  They have performed at various Canadian war shows, including the 

B-52H Stratofortress    (Abbotsford BC, Hamilton and London ON, Quebec QC 
and Shearwater NS)
B-2 Spirit              (Ottawa and Toronto ON)
B-2A Spirit             (Abbotsford BC)

Of the 400 aircraft types known to have visited Canadian airshows, 85% are 
military.  Fifty different types of warplanes have -- or still are -- used 
to carry nuclear weapons.

The following nuclear bombers have entertained at Canadian shows:
Vulcan (UK)
A-4 Skyhawk (US)
A-6 Intruder (US)
B-2A Spirit (US)
B-36 Peacemaker (US)
B-52H Stratofortress (US)
CF-101 Voodoo (Canada)
CF-104 Starfighter (Canada)
F-100D Super Sabre (US)
F-104 Starfighter (US)
F-105 Delta Dart (US)
F-105G Thunderchief (US)
F-106 Delta Dart (US)
F-111 Aardvark (US)
F-117A Night Hawk (US)
F-16 Fighting Falcon (Netherlands)
F-16A Fighting Falcon (US)
F-16A/B Falcon (Netherlands)
F-16CJ Wild Weasel (US)
F-16D Fighting Falcons (US)
F-22 Raptor (US)
F-4E Phantom II (US)
F-80 Shooting Star (US)
F-86 Sabre (US)
F-86E Sabre (US)
F/A-18C Hornet (US)
F/A-18D Hornet (US)
MiG-17 Fresco (Warsaw Pact)
P-3 Orion (US)
P-51 Mustang (US)
SR-71 Blackbird (US)

Nuclear Weapons "Testing":
Although nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were "delivered" 
by B-29 bombers, B-52s practiced for the Hiroshima attack by dropped blank 
orange-colored bombs called "pumpkins" along the Nevada/Utah border.

During the Cold War, B-52s and B-36s dropped dozens of nuclear bombs in the 
South Pacific.  For example, in May 1956, a B-52 dropped a hydrogen bomb 
near the Bikini Islands.  Although the 3.8 megaton explosion was about 5 
miles off course and test instruments could not collect data, the 
detonation served a political role.  It signaled to the Soviet Union the US 
ability to air drop a thermonuclear bomb.

In 1962, during Operation Dominic I, 29 nuclear bombs were dropped from 
B-52s near the Christmas and Johnston Islands.  Dennis Smith, a US atomic 
veteran who monitored these tests from a nearby ship, said: "These were the 
ones where you had your x-ray pictures taken, guys."

The largest of these was called Housatonic yielding an 8.3 megaton blast, 
i.e., 400 times more powerful than Hiroshima, which was destroyed with a 20 
kiloton bomb.  (A kiloton is equivalent to 1000 tons of TNT, while a 
megaton is 1 million tons.)

Nuclear Weapons Accidents:
Over the past 45 years there have been dozens of nuclear warplane accidents 
including mid-air collisions, crashes and accidentally dropping 
bombs.  Although such near-catastrophic nuclear events have not occurred 
during air shows, the same types of nuclear aircraft that have "perfomed" 
in Canada have been involved in these incidents.  These include:
A-4 Skyhawk
B-36 Peacemaker
B-52 Stratofortress
B-52H Stratofortress
CH-47D Chinook
F-100 Super Sabre
F-86 Sabre

Nuclear Threats:
During the Cold War, there were at least 16 publicly-known nuclear crises 
in which the US threatened to wage nuclear war against its enemies.  In 
several cases, the US threatened nuclear war using the same kinds of 
weapons delivery systems that have been used to amuse the Canadian public 
during war shows.  For instance, the US deployed B-52s with nuclear weapons 
during the following crises:
Cuban missile crisis (1962)
Vietnam war (1969)
Yom Kippur war (1973)
Iran (1980)

Why use Warplanes as Entertainment?
Once a year, air shows across Canada play host to hundreds of warplanes, 
including nuclear weapons systems.  They are ostensibly used to entertain 
the public.  As the military's biggest public relations events, the 500 air 
shows held annually in North America have more sinister purposes:
* They put a pleasant face on war technologyby glamourizing and 
romanticizing warplanes,
* They build public support for war,
* They are used to recruit children and youth into the institutions that 
plan and wage war.

The military openly admits that these highly militarised spectacles are 
their main recruiting tool.  Air show organizers deliberately "target" 
youth, including very young children.  They advertise free midway rides, 
face-painting, "Kiddie Commando" obstacle courses and other activities 
designed to lure children into the shadows of military aircraft, including 
many designed to fight nuclear war.

COAT's Database of Warplanes:
Although war show web sites advertise their "performers," they rarely 
mention their nuclear or conventional war-fighting roles.  Hundreds of 
military web sites and other sources were used to gather data on warplanes 
for the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) database of warplanes.

Detailed information on 400 different types of aircraft that have visited 
war shows in about 30 Canadian cities is available for journalists who are 
interested in exposing the militaristic dimensions of Canadian "air shows."

For more info on the Ottawa war show, see:

Richard Sanders, Coordinator,
Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)
(A network of individuals and NGOs across Canada and around the world)
Tel: 613-231-3076   Email: ad207@ncf.ca   Web: http://www.ncf.ca/coat

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