The United States Department of Defense has revealed its plan to craft a nuclear bomb 24 times more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II.
This initiative now awaits Congress’s approval and funding to progress further.
The idea is to forge a modern version of the B61 nuclear gravity bomb, to be named B61-13, as outlined in a DoD press release.
The goal is straightforward: upgrade and bolster the country’s nuclear arsenal responding to a world with escalating threats and geopolitical tensions.
A step mirroring global circumstances
John Plumb, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, clarified that the move is due to a “changing security environment and growing threats from potential adversaries.”
He added that the United States has a duty 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 B61-13 would have a yield akin to the B61-7, boasting a maximum load of 360 kilotons, a magnitude vastly surpassing the bombs used in World War II.
This new version will also encompass “the modern safety, security, and accuracy features of the B61-12,” enhancing the weapon’s efficacy and safety.
Nuclear tensions on the rise
In a global backdrop of rising tensions, a high-explosive experiment was recently conducted at a nuclear test site in Nevada.
Corey Hinderstein, deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration, mentioned that these tests aim to advance “our efforts to develop new technology in support of U.S. nuclear nonproliferation goals,” aiding in detecting underground nuclear tests.
This initiative emerges at a critical juncture, as Russia is anticipated to withdraw from the 1966 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, an agreement never ratified by several nuclear powers, creating a scenario of global uncertainty regarding nuclear weapons control and limitation.
Implications and future of B61-13
The new bomb, deployable by modern aircraft, is crafted to provide options to strike hard and large-area military targets.
However, it will not augment the total number of weapons in the US nuclear arsenal, instead replacing some of the current B61-7s.
John Plumb reiterates that the B61-13 is a sensible step to manage the challenges of a highly dynamic security environment, offering added flexibility without increasing the country’s nuclear stockpile.
This advancement, now in the hands of Congress, could redefine the global nuclear balance, in a period where tensions among nuclear powers appear far from subsiding.
With information from Fox News