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US to build new B61 gravity bomb variant

30th October 2023 - 11:20 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


The B61-13 would be produced by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). (Photo: US DoD)

The new bomb would be deployable from contemporary aircraft and would replace some B61-7s in the existing nuclear stockpile while maintaining a similar yield.

The US DoD has announced its intentions to develop a modern variant of the B61 nuclear gravity bomb, labelled the B61-13. The decision is currently awaiting Congressional authorisation and appropriation.

The decision to forge ahead with the bomb came as a response to the ‘demands of a rapidly evolving security environments as described in the 2022 Nuclear Posture Review’, the DoD said.

The B61-13 would be produced by the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which was closely engaged in the decision-making regarding the B61-33.

‘Today's announcement is reflective of a changing security environment and growing threats from potential adversaries,’ said Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy John Plumb. ’The US has a responsibility to continue to assess and field the capabilities we need to credibly deter and, if necessary, respond to strategic attacks and assure our allies.’

The DoD said the new gravity bomb variant would be deliverable by modern aircraft and it would replace some of the B61-7s in the current nuclear stockpile but provide a similar yield.

Plumb added that while the B61-13 would provide the US with additional flexibility, it would not increase the overall number of weapons in its nuclear stockpile.

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