The U.S. Department of Defense is developing a new and more powerful version of the B61 nuclear gravity bomb to modernize its nuclear arsenal and deter possible nuclear threats from China and Russia.
Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of American Scientists, explained that the B61-13 will employ the same warheads from the 1980s- and 1990s-era B61-7s, fitted into the same casing and tail kit as the B61-12.
According to the report from the Pentagon, the B61-13 nuclear gravity bomb is 24 times more powerful than the Hiroshima nuke and 14 times larger than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945. B61-13 is also expected to hold a maximum load of 360 kilotons, like B61-7, with the same modern safety, security and accuracy features as B61-12. Moreover, this bomb provides additional options against harder and larger-area military targets.
This proposal is a response to the growing threat imposed by Russia and China against the United States. (Related: STRATCOM report reveals China has a larger nuclear ICBM arsenal than the US.)
"What makes this so dangerous is that Xi [Jinping] and [Vladimir] Putin are collaborating in new ways to threaten the U.S. alliance architectures, systems of trade, and safe and secure commerce – all of which have allowed Americans to be safe, prosperous, and free for decades," said Rebeccah Heinrichs, a senior fellow with the Hudson Institute and an expert on strategic deterrence.
In a report published by Fox News in March, Russian and Chinese diplomats have been conducting meetings to reaffirm their strategic partnership. Now, experts believe that those meetings seek to challenge the U.S. dominance, not only in their respective regions but on the global stage.
"Russia and China are strategic partners in the short term as they are joining forces to challenge the U.S. in order to deter us from interdicting their respective plans to establish dominance in their respective perceived spheres of influence in Eurasia," explained former Intelligence officer Rebekah Koffler. "In the long term, Moscow and Beijing are strategic opponents; hence, they’ve been modernizing their nuclear arsenals and doctrines."
Koffler pointed out that Russia has the largest nuclear stockpile globally, even more extensive than the U.S. when including tactical nuclear weapons. While China's nuclear capabilities remain secret, some experts think the U.S. might not be able to stop Putin from using tactical nuclear weapons.
Moreover, Koffler said the so-called Global Zero policy under the Obama and Biden administrations might have given Russia a way to prevent the U.S. from getting involved in the Ukraine war, as they fear Putin might use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
Heinrichs hinted that a renewed focus on producing "large numbers of conventional weapons and defenses" is necessary.
"We have divested of key systems and production capabilities since the Cold War, and we must now move with a sense of urgency to regain our ability to produce and deploy the necessary weapons to deter both of those countries. To return to a stable environment where both of those countries are interested in diplomacy and treaties, and agreements, we should show them that they will not prevail by threatening us with nuclear weapons. It will not be worth it for them," Heinrichs said.
However, the production of the B61-13 will be limited and is only intended to replace some of the existing B61-7 bombs without increasing the overall weapons stockpile to 400–500. It plans to offset the production of B61-12s with an equivalent number of B61-13s.
Learn more about the expansion of nuclear arsenals across the world at NuclearWeapons.news.
Watch this episode of "Brighteon Broadcast News" as Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, warns about how President Joe Biden is provoking a nuclear war.