Russians Peer in on Minot Bombers

Russian nuclear arms inspectors visited Minot AFB, N.D., for the second time under the New START agreement, this time reviewing the B-52s of the 5th Bomb Wing. Like the September inspection of the Minuteman III ICBMs of Minot’s 91st Missile Wing, this visit was a type-one verification focused on the base’s operational B-52s. Under the terms of New START, which entered force in February, Russia is allowed both on-site and satellite inspections. Minot is subject to four inspections annually—both type-one visits and type-two inspections that focus on non-operational systems such as those in a storage facility. Minot’s airmen have “spent countless hours” planning and practicing for the inspections, said Minot’s treaty compliance specialist Dennis Mikula. “We did anything from tabletop discussions to mock inspections,” he added. Under the treaty, the base gets 24 hours notice that the Russians are coming. (Minot release)