The Americans approved the production of the upgraded B61-12 fusion bomb. This will be the first new construction of this type since the end of the Cold War. The United States intends to modernize its nuclear arsenal and extend the life of its bombs. New models should be available in 2020.
After years of testing, NNSA has agreed to produce new versions of B61-12 fusion bombs. Americans have been using the basic versions of these bombs for quite some time, and upgraded models will use some of the older parts. As the NNSA representatives admit, modernization was necessary because the B61 is already outdated. New bombs are to be much more “intelligent” than predecessors.
This is due to a number of structural changes. The crust of the structure has been changed, and a new guidance system has been added to increase the accuracy of the weapon. The bomb’s flight is to be corrected by using the ailerons in its tail and the GPS system. This is the solution used by Boeing. In the bomb itself we will find a fusion charge, consisting of explosives, uranium, tritium, plutonium and several other elements.
The maximum explosive power of this design is 100 kiloton, but the Americans have decided to limit it to 20 kiloton. It is roughly the same as that of the Nagasaki head during World War II. It is worth mentioning that B61 bombs are part of NATO’s common nuclear arsenal and are in such countries as Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands. These are also the only nuclear-powered structures used by the United States that can be carried by smaller planes.