Exclusive: Aging Helicopters Could Make U.S. Nukes Vulnerable to Terrorists

Posted February 29, 2016 at 12:00pm

If terrorists attacked one or more of America’s nuclear missiles in the northern Great Plains, U.S. military personnel would not be able to respond effectively, because their Vietnam-era helicopters are not up to the task, according to lawmakers, U.S. military leaders and Defense Department documents, reports Roll Call .  

“They are not capable of doing the job of responding to an alert,” said Alabama Republican Mike D. Rogers , chairman of the House Armed Services panel that oversees strategic defense programs, in reference to the aging fleet of UH-1N Huey helicopters now deployed to protect intercontinental missile launch facilities around Air Force bases in Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota. “This is about nuclear weapons that are at risk.”  

“Listen, I don’t like talking about this publicly,” Rogers added in the interview with CQ. “This is a vulnerability that I don’t like being in the public domain. But I can’t get it fixed, apparently, without focusing some attention on this matter and how unacceptable it is. … You’re going to hear my language get more direct on this topic in the coming days and weeks in public. Our situation is completely unacceptable.”