Oops! The five warheads were mounted on Advanced Cruise Missiles aboard a B-52, like this one.
This is the kind of human error story that makes a strong case for worldwide nuclear disarmament: Armytimes.com reported Wednesday that five nuclear warheads were mistakenly carried on a B-52 bomber from North Dakota to Louisiana on Aug. 30—which means they were effectively missing for more than three hours.
Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Ed Thomas said the transfer was safely conducted and the weapons were in Air Force custody and control at all times.
However, the mistake was not discovered until the B-52 landed at Barksdale, which left the warheads unaccounted for during the approximately 3 1/2 hour flight between the two bases, the officers said.
An investigation headed by Maj. Gen. Douglas Raaberg, director of Air and Space Operations at Air Combat Command Headquarters, was launched immediately to find the cause of the mistake and figure out how it could have been prevented, Thomas said.