The United States Department of Defence (DOD) has announced that it will pursue a modern variant of the B-62 Nuclear Gravity Bomb, designated the B61-13 pending Congressional authorization and appropriation. The news comes after the Peoples Republic of China said that it planned to double its nuclear warheads to over 1,000 by 2030.
As per a report from an American agency, the nuclear bomb is said to be 24 times more powerful than that of the one dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945 at the culmination of the Second World War.
“Today the Department of Defence (US) announced that the United States of America will pursue a modern variant of the B61 gravity bomb, designated the B-61-13 pending Congressional authorization and appropriation, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) would produce,” the DOD release said.
Today’s announcement is reflective of a changing security environment and growing threats from potential adversaries, the Assistant Secretary of Defence for Space Policy, John Plumb said in the release. “The United States of America has a responsibility to assess and dill the capacity we need to credibly deter and if necessary, respond to strategic attacks and assure our allies.
Nuclear Test at Nevada
The announcement comes amid the rising tensions across the globe, with the US conducting a high explosive at a nuclear tests site in Nevada earlier this month Corey Hinderstein, the deputy administrator for defence nuclear non proliferation at the NNSA, said that the test was meant to advance our efforts of the US non-proliferation goals.
The test came as Russia was largely expected to announce that it would be pulling out of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) signed in 1966 which aimed at banning nuclear explosions anywhere in the world. It was never ratified by China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, Iran, and Egypt
“They will help reduce global nuclear threats by improving the detection of underground nuclear tests, Hinderstein said of the experiments.
The decision to pursue this capability, which was undertaken in close collaboration with the NNSA responds to the demands of the rapidly evolving security environment as described in the Nuclear Posture Review, the statement read.
Features of the Bomb
The B61-13 will yield similarly to the B-61-7 which has a maximum output of 360 kilotons according to an US media agency citing the Pentagon statement, which had fact sheet that was included with thre release. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War-II was a 15-kiloton bomb that is 24 times smaller than the load and it is 14 times bigger than the bomb that hit Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.
The new bomb will be deliverable by modern aircraft, the release notes and will be designed to give the president options to strike hard and large area military targets. If approved, thre bomb will replace some of the current B61-7s currently in the US nuclear stockpile instead of increasing the size of US nuclear stocks, the release noted.
It can destroy underground targets with improved accuracy and it can detonate closer to ground and also has high radioactive fallout. If the new bomb is dropped, a total of one million lives will be lost. The most suitable aircraft for delivering the payload is the B-21 Raider stealth bomber. The blast radius is 3.5 miles wide.