The United States has decided to accelerate the deployment of upgraded B61-12 thermonuclear bombs to NATO bases in Europe.
The ammunition modernization program is estimated at ten billion dollars. It was designed to replace earlier versions, including about 100 bombs stored at air bases in Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey.
“Although we are not going to discuss the details of our nuclear arsenal, the B61 modernization has been underway for many years, and the plan to safely and responsibly replace obsolete weapons with improved versions is part of a long-planned modernization. It has nothing to do with current events in Ukraine and has not been accelerated in any way” , said Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder.
The B61 aerial bomb has been in service since 1968, and its modifications are now common – 3, 4, 7 and 11. The B61-12 should replace the first three.
B61-12 can be used in free-fall and corrective modes from the B2 strategic bomber, F-15, F-16, PA-200 Tornado fighter-bombers, as well as “future aircraft platforms F-35, B-21, F / A -18F”.