List of United States Air Force munitions squadrons

Summary

A crew from the 420th Munitions Squadron at RAF Welford in 2012

Munition Support Squadrons (MUNSS) are geographically separated units which are located over Europe. They are co-located on several main operating NATO bases and they are working together with their host nation wing. Their common strength varies between 125 – 150 servicemembers.

Their mission: receiving, storing, maintenance and maintaining custody and control of NATO assigned special USAFE munitions until further notice. When directed the MUNSS will provide the special munitions to the NATO strike wing commander. Therefore the MUNSS mission is one of the most critical within their theater of operations.

All details regarding nuclear deployments within NATO remain secret. The only officially acknowledged information is that the standoff (air-dropped) weapons concerned are currently B-61 types which are managed through the Weapons Storage and Security System (WS3). WS3 has been constructed in the 1980s and comprised construction of secured vaults – each capable to contain 4 weapons – in the floors of the aircraft shelters. The co-storage of the special weapons together with their strike aircraft greatly enhanced their survivability and operational readiness. In 1986 the Pentagon released a list of airbases in Europe and in the Far East which have been WS3 equipped.

Unit insignia of the 701st MUNSS

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact the number of NATO airbases and the number of operational WS3 has considerably been reduced. In 2017 Hans M. Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in Washington declared that the numbers of NATO assigned US nuclear weapons in Europe have not been changed since 2009 so it is supposed that they are currently still operational in Turkey, Italy, Germany, Belgium and in the Netherlands.

In 2021, the Pentagon briefly posted a picture of the unit insignia of the 701st Munitions Support Squadron at Kleine Brogel Air Base, Belgium which depicted US and Belgian flags above an eagle clutching a B-61 weapon. The photo, dated from March 2021, was removed soon after it drew media attention.[1]

Munitions Squadrons (MUNS)

Former Squadrons

See also

References

  1. ^ Trevithick, Joseph (March 31, 2021). "Air Force Shows Off Squadron Logo Highlighting Stockpile Of Nuclear Bombs In Belgium". The Drive. Retrieved 2021-04-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "48th Maintenance Group".