US Consider Removing Tactical Nukes From Europe

Nato Headquarters, Brussels -- The scene of US/NATO talks held today over the potential removing of TNMs is Europe

Today the influential Asahi Shimbun – a Japanese Newspaper- has said that the United States is in talks with NATO to remove U.S. tactical nuclear weapons from Europe in a push toward a nuclear-weapons-free world and to cut costs.

Washington is talking with other NATO member nations about the withdrawal of all shorter-range, tactical nuclear weapons that have been deployed in Europe since the Cold War era, the influential Asahi Shimbun said.

In-depth discussions will take place in coming months, and the talks should conclude by the time Chicago hosts a NATO summit next May, the liberal daily said, citing a senior U.S. official tasked with nuclear disarmament policies.

The talks are being held as part of NATO’s Defense and Deterrence Posture Review, said the report filed from the paper’s Washington bureau.

The move came as U.S. President Barack Obama wants to negotiate with Russia about reducing tactical nuclear weapons and nuclear stockpiles, following the ratification this year of the US-Russia New START disarmament treaty, it said.

A complete abolition coupled with President Obama’s decision to ditch the European element of the new Missile Defence System which was proposed back in 2009,  it could give impetus to U.S.-Russia nuclear disarmament talks.

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Royal Navy Provide The Platform to Use Apaches in Libya

HMS Ocean with Three Apaches

In what originally started out as an exercise, the Army Air Corp’s AH-64s have been sped through re-qualification to provide further air-power to the region and further help rebels in the area of Misurata in their fight against Libyan government forces.

Only three Apaches are deployed on HMS Ocean, but the government has apparently authorized at least one more to be dispatched there with two more on standby, as reported by the Daily Telegraph.

The move is an obvious stopgap to project some carrier launched air power where the recently decommissioned Ark Royal would have been providing fighter support. It is also seen as a big escalation for the British after weeks in which sustained attacks on Libyan government positions and Col. Gadddafi’s leadership compounds failed to generate any major breakthrough.

Speculation is that these birds are part of the Anglo-French force of attack helicopters that could be set to strike targets belonging to Gadhafi’s government in Libya. Apaches mark a new phase in Libya that could provide much more flexible Close Air Support, coming on the heels of some of the heaviest NATO air strikes yet against Gadhafi.