From 16 till 27 October 2017 the nuclear strike exercise Steadfast Noon took place from two locations: Kleine Brogel Air Base in Belgium and Büchel Air Base in Germany.
Steadfast Noon is the exercise that practices NATO’s nuclear strike mission with dual-capable aircraft (DCA) and the B61 tactical nuclear bombs the US deploys in Europe.
This year Kleine Brogel AB was hosting aircraft from Italy, the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Poland, of which the later two countries operated under the so-called SNOWCAT (Support of Nuclear Operations With Conventional Air Tactics) program. SNOWCAT enables military assets from non-nuclear countries to support the nuclear strike mission without being formally part of it.
JAS39D with only one seat occupied
Unlike conventional NATO exercises Steadfast Noon was very tight-lippen because of its political sensitivity and mainly because of the georgeous weather a visit was paid by Ludo Mennes to Kleine Brogel not knowing what to expect. Except for the Polish F-16's, which arrived on the Friday before, all participating fighter aircraft and their support arrived on Monday under excellent photo circumstances.
Tornado IDS from 6 Stormo Ghedi
F-16MLU from Volkel AB
Home based F-16BM with friendly backseater