The United States and Russia each completed 18 on-site nuclear inspections—the maximum permitted under the New START agreement each year—since the treaty entered force last February, according to a State Department release marking the first year of treaty implementation. The two countries also exchanged 1,800 “notifications” under the treaty’s terms during the past year. “Every time a heavy bomber is moved out of its home country for more than 24 hours” for example, the United States notified Russia through the treaty’s risk-reduction centers, according to the Feb. 3 release. In addition, the Air Force displayed the B-2A stealth bomber for the Russians and conducted a one-time exhibition to show them that “B-1B heavy bombers are no longer capable of employing nuclear armaments,” states the release. In exchange, the Russians allowed US observers first-time access to the RS-24 mobile ICBM system, capable of carrying multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S. The bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.