The bomb will likely be made by a B61-7 warhead inside a B61-12 casing, offering another choice with a better yield.
The U.S. Division of Protection introduced the event of one more, extra highly effective variant of the B61 nuclear bomb, the B61-13. The choice arrived shortly after the B61-12 entered full scale manufacturing however, famous the DoD, it is going to nonetheless be depending on Congressional authorization and appropriation earlier than turning into efficient.
“The B61-13 will strengthen deterrence of adversaries and assurance of allies and companions by offering the President with further choices towards sure more durable and large-area army targets”, stated the press assertion. Shortly thereafter, the document is fast to make clear “the fielding of the B61-13 just isn’t in response to any particular present occasion; it displays an ongoing evaluation of a altering safety atmosphere”.
In reality, the 2022 Nuclear Posture Assessment noticed that U.S. opponents proceed to increase, diversify, and modernize their nuclear forces whereas rising reliance on nuclear weapons. Due to this, it was determined to undertake a balanced method to the safety atmosphere, investing in deterrence whereas renewing a dedication to pursue arms management and different threat discount measures.
In accordance with the DoD, the variety of the nuclear bombs within the stock won’t change following this choice, because the B61-13 will exchange a few of the B61-7s within the present stockpile and the variety of B61-12s to be produced will likely be lowered by the identical quantity because the variety of B61-13s produced. The B61-13 can have a yield just like the B61-7 (reportedly 340-360 kt), reusing its warhead, and can embrace the fashionable security, safety, and accuracy options of the B61-12.
As we already reported, the B61 entered service 50 years in the past and has undergone a Life-Extension Program (LEP) to consolidate and exchange 4 legacy bomb variants, the B61 -3, -4, -7, and -11 mods, into the B61-12. The refurbished B61-12 will permit the retirement of the bigger B83, turning into the one remaining gravity delivered nuke within the stock. The bomb will carry a low-yield nuclear warhead with 4 yield choices, reportedly 0.3 kilotons, 1.5 kilotons, 10 kilotons and 50 kilotons, as an alternative of bigger warheads just like the fashions it’s changing (which may attain 400 kilotons relying on the variants).
The 12-foot, 825-pound bomb is designed to be delivered from the air in both ballistic or guided-gravity drop modes, because of a brand new Boeing-built tail meeting that features an Inertial Navigation System (INS) precision-guidance package deal and two spin rocket motors that improve the bomb’s stability on its longitudinal axis throughout the descent. The LEP is alleged to be rising the B61’s accuracy a lot (with a reported 30 m Round Error Chance as an alternative of the unique 100 m) that it’ll have the identical functionality towards hardened targets because the rather more highly effective weapons it’s changing.
Much like the B61-12, the B61-13 will probably even have restricted earth-penetration capabilities and decrease yield choices. Because of the phenomenon of ground-shock coupling, according to the Federation of American Scientists, the B61-13’s comparatively excessive yield and accuracy will probably allow the bomb to strike underground targets with yields equal to a surface-burst weapon of multiple megaton. The results of a 360-kiloton explosion are considerably larger than people who would outcome from a 50-kiloton explosion of the B61-12 and, if detonated on the floor, a yield of 360 kilotons would trigger important radioactive fallout over giant areas.
Just like the B61-7, the B61-13 will likely be designed for supply by strategic bombers such because the new B-21 Raider and presumably the B-2 Spirit, reviews the FAS, and it’s not meant for supply by dual-capable fighters such the F-35 Lightning II. Due to this, all the B61-13s will likely be saved inside america, not like the B61-12s of which a portion will likely be forward-deployed to Europe. The brand new bomb can also be anticipated to permit the retirement of the final US megaton bomb, the B83-1.