Büchel Air Base

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Büchel Air Base
Büchel Air Base.jpg

50 ° 10 '26 "  N , 7 ° 3' 48"  E Coordinates: 50 ° 10 '26 "  N , 7 ° 3' 48"  E

Height above MSL 478 m (1568  ft )
Transport links
Distance from the city center 1 km west of Büchel
Basic data
opening 1955
operator air force
Start-and runway
03/21 2507 m × 45 m asphalt

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The Büchel Air Base is an airbase of the German air force . It is located near Büchel in the Ulmen community in the Cochem-Zell district in Rhineland-Palatinate and serves as a base for the Tactical Air Force Squadron 33 (TaktLwG 33). The commodore is Colonel Thomas Schneider.

Büchel is considered to be the only site in Germany where even US - nuclear weapons are stored. As part of the nuclear participation agreed within NATO , the German Air Force is training fighter-bomber pilots for use with this tactical nuclear weapon in order to then fly the atomic bombs into the target area with Bundeswehr tornadoes and drop them.


Runway with towed aircraft MRCA Tornado

On the site of today's air base, namely at Lutzerather Eck, there were two launch positions for V1 cruise missiles in the last months of the Second World War .

The history of the Büchel Air Base, originally planned near Münstermaifeld, began in 1954 and 1955, when the French occupying forces built the military airfield and placed it under the 1st French Air Command without occupying it.

In autumn 1954 the London Nine Powers Conference decided on the sovereignty of the Federal Republic, the accession of the Federal Republic to the Brussels Pact (WEU) and to NATO; the conference brought assurances from the USA, Great Britain and Canada that they would keep their troops on the European continent. With the Paris Treaties of May 5, 1955, the Federal Republic obtained sovereignty and was incorporated into the security system of the Western European Union; on May 9, 1955 she joined NATO (for details see article rearmament ).

Shortly after completion of the airfield, it was handed over to the Federal Property Office by the French armed forces on June 6, 1955 . On August 13, 1955, the location was handed over to the Bundeswehr administration and on August 15, the first 250 German soldiers moved into the Büchel location. From February 1957, intensive work was carried out on the infrastructure for relocating the Luftwaffe 30 weapons school .

On July 12, 1957, the first 140 soldiers of the Luftwaffe 30 weapons school moved into Büchel. On August 6, 1957, the remaining parts of the Air Force Supply Group arrived. The aircraft from Waffenschule 30 were transferred in stages from October 1957. At the end of October there were 72 F-84Fs , three T-33s and two T-6s at Büchel Air Base . At the end of June 30, 1958, the weapons school closed.

The Büchel squadron became Fighter Bomber Wing 33 from July 1, 1958. In December 1958, this was officially subordinated to NATO. In 1961 the troop accommodation was built in Cochem- Brauheck . In 1962 the civil training workshop of the Büchel Air Base was founded. The first starfighters arrived in Büchel on August 28, 1962. The conversion to the current aircraft type Tornado took place in 1985, the officially last Starfighter flight in Büchel took place on May 30, 1985 in a special paint scheme. This machine is still standing at the main gate of the air base today.

On the evening of January 16, 2014, a German tornado of the Tactical Air Force Wing 33 crashed during a night exercise when approaching Büchel near Laubach (Eifel) near the junction with the Autobahn 48.

To protect against opponents of nuclear weapons and other unwanted visitors, the air base has been equipped with a completely new fence system since 2019. Including the post route, a temporary additional fence and numerous new sensors and cameras, each kilometer costs more than one million euros according to the planning.

Nuclear weapons

Demonstration against nuclear participation, August 2008 at the air base

According to statements from the scientific service of the German Bundestag, nuclear weapons are stored at the Büchel Air Base as part of the “nuclear participation”. This writes:

"... One form of consideration could be B. exist in the so-called "nuclear participation" - a contractual "two-key" system for the joint use of nuclear weapons, as it has been practiced for years together with the USA (eg on the military base in Büchel in the Palatinate) becomes."

Since 2004, the air base has been the only location in Germany with nuclear weapons.

In the north of the area there is a specially secured square area with four tornado hangars. It is believed that these are the machines for nuclear sharing and that the atomic bombs are located below in an underground special ammunition dump . ( 50 ° 10 '55.5 "  N , 7 ° 3' 47.9"  E ). According to various media reports, but not officially confirmed, tactical US nuclear weapons of the type B61-3 / 4 are stored in the bunkers . This type of bomb has an adjustable explosive force from 0.3 to 170 kilotons of TNT , a maximum of about 13 times that of the Hiroshima bomb .

In April 2010 the peace activist Elke Koller filed a lawsuit against the stationing against the Federal Government before the Administrative Court in Berlin , after coordination with IALANA , which forwarded the lawsuit to the Administrative Court in Cologne . The administrative court in Cologne dismissed the action as inadmissible by judgment of July 19, 2011 . The u. a. The constitutional complaint directed against this decision was not accepted for decision by the Federal Constitutional Court.

The deposited nuclear weapons must be released by the President of the United States in the event of war . They are subordinate to the US Air Force and the 139-strong 702nd Munitions Support Squadron (702 MUNSS) of the 38th Munitions Maintenance Group (38 MUNG). This US unit is responsible for the safekeeping, guarding, maintenance and clearance of the weapons stocks of the highest security category. The German Air Force supports the US unit with the Air Force Security Squadron "S" .

In 2008 the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) reported that, according to an internal study by the United States Air Force , many nuclear weapons dumps are not complying with the minimum security standards of the US Department of Defense . The Büchel Air Base is said to be among them. These standards were introduced in early 2009. As a first reaction, the US military plans to distribute nuclear weapons to fewer locations in Europe.

The US said it would spend about $ 4 billion by 2023 to modernize the B61 . So far it has been a matter of pure drop bombs. The new version is to receive a control system that improves range and accuracy. New type B61-12 nuclear weapons have presumably been stationed at Büchel Air Base since 2015 - the US Air Force budget provided funds for the integration of this new atomic bomb system into the German tornado fighter-bombers from the 3rd quarter of 2015. Critics object that this would convert the weapons into precision-controlled long-range weapons.

According to a survey, a clear majority of the German population would like to see nuclear weapons withdrawn: 66 percent were in favor of this, only 19 percent want to keep them. 16 percent were undecided.

Protest actions

Margot Käßmann with other participants at the 2019 Church Day of Action at Büchel Air Base
Blockade action in front of the main gate of Büchel Air Base (2018)

For several years, the air base has been the scene of actions by the peace movement , with which the end of nuclear participation in Germany and the signing of the nuclear weapons ban is demanded. The international agreement provides that the development, production, testing, acquisition, storage, transport, deployment and use of nuclear weapons will be banned, as well as the threat to do so.

For years there has been a 20-week campaign under the motto "20 weeks against 20 bombs!" With various events and forms of action, including at the main gate, such as vigils, discussions and cultural events, religious services and actions of civil disobedience through blockades, the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Büchel is demanded.

The Aachen Peace Prize was awarded to the campaign “Büchel is everywhere! atomwaffenfrei.jetzt ” and awarded to the initiative group against nuclear weapons . Both initiatives were honored for their decades of commitment against the US atomic bombs in Büchel and around the world.

The demonstration on August 30, 2008 with around 2000 participants caused the greatest sensation.

In recent years, demonstrators have repeatedly succeeded in defeating the allegedly last US atomic bombs in Germany to break through the military security measures and to break into the nuclear weapons site.

“Steadfast Noon” maneuver

Fighter jet "Tornado" of the 33rd fighter-bomber squadron

The Bundeswehr regularly takes part in the secret NATO alliance exercise called " Steadfast Noon " with fighter jets from Büchel Air Base . Among other things, the use and dropping of nuclear weapons are practiced. The US armed forces overwritten a message in 2019 on the arrival of the aircraft in Gloucestershire, UK, with the words: "Attention opponents: bombers are back and ready to go."

On October 18, 2019, there was an incident with a US F-15 fighter jet , which discharged around 3.6 tons of fuel from the air force base. According to air traffic control, a region about 28 kilometers north of Büchel was affected. As the SWR reports, the flight was part of the secret NATO exercise.

Büchel Aviation Club

A special feature is that the runway at the military air base is used by a civil society on weekends and public holidays. During these times, the Büchel Aviation Club carries out flight operations with motorized and glider planes at the air base. Both towing and winch launch are available.

See also

Web links

Commons : Büchel Air Base  - Collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. Information on Thomas Schneider Colonel Thomas Schneider has led the association since July 2018 | accessed August 1, 2019
  2. Alfons Benz When weapons from the Eifel were aimed at Antwerp in: Rheinzeitung Cochem-Zell of November 26, 2012
  3. AMBITIVUM, pagus magnensis, Monasteri in Meinfeld, Münstermaifeld, The story in relation to the city of Münstermaifeld from 2009, page 161
  4. spiegel.de: Fighter jet crashed: Tornado of the Bundeswehr crashes in the Eifel
  5. n-tv: Secret nuclear depot in the Eifel? Bundeswehr builds protective fence in Büchel , accessed on August 1, 2019
  6. US atomic bombs confirmed on German soil. In: German Bundestag. May 23, 2017, accessed on August 1, 2019 (Germany's obligations under international law when dealing with nuclear weapons. Page 4).
  7. Matthias Gebauer, John Goetz: Atomwaffen in Deutschland - USA have cleared nuclear arsenal in Ramstein from Spiegel Online , July 9, 2007, accessed on October 9, 2010
  8. ^ Otfried Nassauer: US nuclear weapons in Germany and Europe from June 2008, accessed on October 9, 2010
  9. Withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Germany not in sight. In: ARD tagesschau.de . October 9, 2010, archived from the original on October 11, 2010 ; accessed on October 9, 2010 (contributions from public service broadcasters may only remain online for a certain period of time.).
  10. US atomic bombs confirmed on German soil. In: rp-online.de. December 1, 2010, accessed on April 29, 2014 (contributions from public service broadcasters may only remain online for a certain period of time.).
  11. Christian Peace Activists Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki , August 4, 2010
  12. ^ Lawsuit against nuclear weapons storage in Büchel remains unsuccessful. Retrieved August 7, 2019 .
  13. BVerfG, decision of the 2nd Chamber of the Second Senate of March 15, 2018 - 2 BvR 1371/13 - Rn. (1-59) Retrieved February 1, 2019
  14. ^ "Trial: Pharmacist sues against atomic bombs in Germany", in FR of April 11, 2011, accessed on November 13, 2013
  15. Dieter Junker: "Elke Koller complains against nuclear weapons in Büchel" in Rhein-Zeitung of June 13, 2011, accessed on November 13, 2013
  16. Knut Karger: In case of emergency. Documentary Germany 2006
  17. 702nd Munitions Support Squadron> Spangdahlem Air Base> Display. Archived from the original on March 26, 2017 ; Retrieved March 26, 2017 (American English).
  18. ↑ The stationing of new US nuclear weapons in Germany begins. (PDF): Zdf.de . September 21, 2015, archived from the original on September 26, 2015 ; accessed on September 21, 2015 .
  19. ^ Information from Karl-Heinz Kamp, Nato Defense College in Rome, in: Bettina Vestring: US atomic bombs remain. In: Frankfurter Rundschau Online. September 5, 2012, accessed September 6, 2012 .
  20. Germans support US troop withdrawal. August 4, 2020, accessed August 4, 2020 .
  21. EASTER MARCH in Büchel 2014 , accessed on October 24, 2019
  22. Working paper 18 , submitted to the Preparatory Committee for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Conference, New York, April 2, 2014.
  23. Activists demonstrate against US nuclear weapons , accessed on October 24, 2019
  24. The first demonstration took place in 1996 - The Renaissance of the Büchel Bombs , accessed on October 24, 2019
  25. 20 weeks of protests against nuclear weapons in Büchel end on Nagasaki Memorial Day , accessed on October 24, 2019
  26. ^ Theologian Käßmann encourages activists in Büchel , accessed on October 24, 2019
  27. Awarding of the Aachen Peace Prize in 2019 , accessed on October 24, 2019
  28. Klaus-Peter Klingelschmitt: Peace demonstration in Büchel - Against the secret atomic bombs. In: taz . August 31, 2008, archived from the original on March 25, 2009 ; Retrieved April 29, 2014 .
  29. Der Spiegel: Activists invade Büchel Air Base , accessed on August 1, 2019
  30. ^ Süddeutsche Zeitung: Opponents of nuclear weapons overcome fences at Büchel Air Base. Süddeutsche Zeitung , April 30, 2019, accessed on August 21, 2020 .
  31. handelsblatt.com: "Steadfast-Noon": Bundeswehr trains defense with nuclear weapons with NATO partners , accessed on October 23, 2019
  32. n-tv: Bundeswehr and NATO practice with nuclear weapons , accessed on October 23, 2019
  33. Rheinpfalz newspaper: Kerosene discharge over the Eifel , accessed on October 23, 2019
  34. Zeitung Express: "Steadfast Noon" maneuvers Bundeswehr and NATO are practicing with nuclear weapons , accessed on October 23, 2019
  35. About us. In: Website of the Fliegerclub Büchel. Retrieved June 14, 2015 .