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