Pentagon Points Advanced B61-12 Tactical Nukes 'Deep Underground'
Once the United States upgrades its decades-old B61 tactical nuclear bomb to its 12th modification, the improved weapon will receive advanced capabilities that will allow it to do something it has never done before – penetrate well-fortified command and control centers located deep underground, the newspaper Vzglyad reported.
The business daily insisted that the B61-12 modification should in fact be treated as a brand new weapon rather than a modernized version.
"For instance, the B61-12 will receive a new tail section with moving fins and an improved guidance system. This will highly enhance its accuracy. Previous B61 modifications were solely meant to destroy enemy fighters and equipment. Those bombs exploded above the ground and their explosive yield did not exceed 9 megatons," Vzglyad detailed.
The B61-12 that is expected to have a yield of up to 10 megatons will be capable of exploding underground. In other words, it will be "the first guided tactical nuclear aerial bomb" that has been designed to destroy well-fortified subterranean command and controlled centers.
"There is no weapon of this kind in the US Armed Forces' arsenal at the moment," the newspaper noted.
On Monday, the US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced that the B61-12 warhead life extension program (LEP) had entered the production engineering phase, which is the final stage before production scheduled to begin in 2020.
The upgraded version, the B61-12, will be deployed to Europe and is rumored to be stationed at the Büchel air base in Germany.
Vzglyad also said that the B61-12 initiative runs counter to Barack Obama's pledge to work towards a nuclear-free world, something the US President has repeatedly promised. However, official figures point to a major gap between Obama's vision and actual steps taken in the last eight years.
According to data released by the Pentagon in May, the reduction rate of America's nuclear arsenal plummeted during the Obama administration. In fact, US authorities under the current leadership dismantled less nuclear warheads than any previous administration.
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