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US Department of Defense Announces Pursuit of Advanced B61-13 Nuclear Gravity Bomb

In a significant announcement, the Department of Defense (DoD) revealed its intent to develop a modern variant of the B61 nuclear gravity bomb, designated as the B61-13, pending Congressional approval and funding. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) under the Department of Energy will oversee the production of this advanced ordnance. This strategic move, made in close collaboration with the NNSA, is a direct response to the evolving security landscape outlined in the 2022 Nuclear Posture Review. The B61-13 is projected to have a comparable yield to its predecessor, the B61-7, boasting a maximum output of 360 kilotons, as stated by Pentagon sources. To put this into perspective, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II was approximately 15 kilotons, underscoring the considerable advancement in destructive potential. Furthermore, the B61-13 would dwarf the 25-kiloton bomb deployed on Nagasaki by nearly 14 times. Assistant Secretary of Defence for Space Policy, John Plumb, emphasized that this development is a proactive response to the evolving global security landscape and the mounting threats posed by potential adversaries. He stressed the United States’ commitment to evaluating and deploying capabilities necessary for credible deterrence and, if required, swift response to strategic threats, reinforcing alliances in the process. Plumb affirmed that while the B61-13 enhances operational flexibility, it will not lead to an overall increase in the nation’s nuclear stockpile. The new bomb will also incorporate state-of-the-art safety, security, and accuracy features from the B61-12, according to a Fox News report. This announcement comes amid escalating international tensions, following the US’ recent high-explosive experiment at a nuclear test site in Nevada. The decision to pursue the B61-13 is the culmination of months of careful evaluation and is not tied to any specific current event. Rather, it underscores a continual assessment of the evolving global security landscape by the US Department of Defense.

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