NATO conducts its annual nuclear deterrent exercise from Monday to October 30 with dozens of aircraft from across the Alliance over northwestern Europe, with Belgium as the base country.

The maneuvers, as the Alliance emphasizes on its website, are “a routine and recurring training activity and are not linked to any current world event.”

The exercise, known as “Steadfast Noon”, involves 14 countries and up to 60 aircraft of various types, including fourth- and fifth-generation fighters, as well as surveillance and tanker planes.

As in previous years, American B-52 long-range bombers are participating, NATO said, specifying that this year they will fly from the Minot air base in North Dakota (USA).

The training flights will take place over Belgium, which is hosting the exercise, as well as over the North Sea and the United Kingdom, NATO explained, making it clear that “no real weapons will be used.”

The “Steadfast Noon” exercise is organized each year by a different NATO ally.

“This exercise helps ensure that the Alliance’s nuclear deterrent remains safe and effective,” NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said.

NATO’s new Strategic Concept, adopted by allied leaders at the Madrid summit in June, makes clear that “the fundamental purpose of NATO’s nuclear capability is to preserve peace, prevent coercion and deter aggression.”

It also underlines that “as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will continue to be a nuclear alliance.”

According to the organization, its goal is to achieve “a safer world for all” and “create the security environment for a world without nuclear weapons.”

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