WASHINGTON – The United States will produce 480 new tactical nuclear bombs in modification B61-12 by 2025, according to the Federation of American Scientists, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
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This number exceeds the arsenals of nuclear weapons owned by China, France, Britain, Pakistan, India, North Korea, and Israel.
The new nuclear bombs [B61-12 – ed.] will equip the strategic stealth bombers B-2 Spirit and the developed B-21 Raider, as well as American and other NATO fighter-bombers in Europe. According to various estimates, the United States currently has 100 to 150 nuclear bombs in the European theater of operations for use by tactical aircraft.
The US National Nuclear Security Administration [NNSA] announced last week that the production of new nuclear bombs began in late November at the Pantex facility in Texas. The United States is reportedly in possession of at least ten of these new munitions. Most of them may originally be located in the continental United States. They will then go to warehouses at air bases in Europe.
What is a B61-12 thermonuclear bomb?
The B61-12 thermonuclear bomb belongs to the B61 family. B61 is the main thermonuclear gravitational bomb of the United States, actively developed amid the Cold War with the Eastern blog close to the USSR.
According to the characteristics known to the general public, B61 has the possibility of a complete explosion, ie. a full range of ignition and delivery options, whether by air or ground. The B61 is capable of reaching supersonic flight speeds. The dimensions of the thermonuclear bomb are 3.56 m long, 33 cm in diameter, and a total weight of about 320 kg. Military experts say that depending on the B61 version, the weight can vary.
The latest modification of the B61 is the B61 Mod 12 or B61-12. One of the tests of the B61 Mod 12 at the very beginning of its development showed that this thermonuclear bomb can penetrate underground and reach an equivalent ability to explode on the surface of weapons from 750 kilotons to 1.25 megatons.
Experts say that “underground penetration” was not planned, but it is good news, as B61 Mod 12 could become a successful replacement for B61 Mod 11, whose main function is underground penetration. The B61 Mod 11 is expected to be decommissioned by the end of 2030.
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