05:34 GMT03 March 2021
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    Some elements of the US' nuclear bomber fleet took to the skies over the Pacific earlier this week as part of an exercise that included Emergency Action Message transmissions.

    Late Wednesday night, radio enthusiasts on the US West Coast intercepted a series of Emergency Action Messages sent by ground forces command to a B-2 strategic bomber, the online military magazine The Drive reported.

    Emergency Action Messages, or EAMs for short, are normally sent out when the military receives an order for the discharge of nuclear weapons.  After receiving such a message, the crew of the B-52 Stratofortress must let loose its onboard array of 20 nuclear-tipped AGM-86 cruise missiles.

    What really happened that night, however, was a nuclear bomber exercise involving B-52 and B-2 bombers, as well as an E-6 Mercury command and communications plane.

    “The exercise also acts as a glaring reminder to America's enemies that its bombers are ready and able to deliver thermonuclear warheads around the globe,” The Drive wrote.

    Emergency Action Messages are a cornerstone of the United States’ nuclear command and control architecture. They direct nuclear forces to initiate pre-planned major and limited attack options.

    READ MORE: Playing With (Nuclear) Fire: Why Renewal of B-52 On-Alert Status is So Dangerous


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