The US nuclear arsenal will soon be replenished with new B61-12 thermonuclear aviation bombs, the production of which has already begun. According to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), a total of 480 units of new ammunition are planned to be adopted. The B61-12 bombs will go to replace the outdated B61-3 and B61-4 variants at American ammunition depots in the United States and Europe. The Pentagon spent about $ 2 billion on the program to create this weapon.
The new bomb belongs to the category of tactical nuclear weapons, but it is intended primarily & nbsp; for the American strategic bombers B-2 Spirit, which are in service with the US Air Force, as well as the promising B-21 Raider, which are just being developed and in the future should replace the entire fleet of American strategic aviation. Also, the new version of the bomb should be compatible with a new generation of fighters, such as the American Joint Strike Fighter. & Nbsp;
In addition, some of the new B61-12s will go into service with the fifth-generation F-35 fighters deployed in Europe, the US Air Force, and some will go into service with NATO allies in Europe with aircraft carrying nuclear weapons. It is known that the United States intends to place B61-12 bombs at European bases & mdash; in Germany, Italy, Turkey, Belgium and the Netherlands. Most recently, the United States completed tests of the F-35 as the carrier of the B61-12 thermonuclear bomb. Two fighters took part in tests in October, each of which dropped one B61-12 dummy. The tests were carried out at the Tonopah test site in Nevada. Thus, the F-35A fighter is fully prepared for certification as a carrier of nuclear weapons, which is planned in 2023. & nbsp;
The development program for the fifth generation nuclear bomb B61-12 started in 2011. Tests of the upgraded B61-12 nuclear bomb without a warhead took place in 2015. In the summer of 2018, the US Air Force once again reported on the successful tests of this new weapon. B61 & minus; 12, as follows from the description, can have a capacity of 0.3, 1.5, 10 and 50 kilotons. & Nbsp;
The new ammunition received a guidance system and a nuclear warhead of variable power. The main feature of the new aerial bomb is the tail unit. Improvements make the bomb manageable and more accurate, which allows you not to lower it with a parachute, but to drop it from an aircraft flying at high altitude. Further, the bomb autonomously plans many kilometers towards the target, steering up to it if necessary.
According to open sources, the total production of all modifications of the B61 bomb is & mdash; more than three thousand products. According to various estimates, there are now about 100-150 nuclear bombs in the United States and Europe. About 400 non-strategic bombs are kept in reserve, and another 200 non-strategic bombs are kept in reserve. They are used for fighter-bombers F-35A, F-15E and F-16C/D, F/A-18 and Tornado.
“ Undoubtedly, these weapons will violate stability in the world. From the territory of, for example, the Baltic states, NATO can deliver such strikes up to Moscow. But it is not a fact that these actions are purely directed against Russia. The United States has enough opponents against whom the use of such nuclear weapons is possible. So it is possible that these weapons will also be sent & nbsp; against China, North Korea and Iran '', & mdash; noted in an interview with AiF.ru the head of the Center for Military Forecasting of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis Anatoly Tsyganok. & nbsp;
An expert in the field of strategic weapons Vladimir Yevseev believes that the adoption of the new B61-12 thermonuclear aviation bombs actually means the beginning of a new round of the arms race:
“ Nuclear weapons '' mdash; a very closed topic, and it is not possible to understand what considerations the Americans are guided by. Although, maybe there is a financial aspect, or maybe politics and other points. There are no international agreements on tactical nuclear weapons, and therefore no restrictions on their production have been imposed. But it must be said unequivocally that when a large number of modern nuclear weapons equipped with innovative guidance and delivery systems appear in Europe, it will definitely force Russia to react. In turn, this could serve as an impetus for the start of a nuclear arms race, '' the expert said.