The Pentagon has announced a major milestone in the development of the B61-13 gravity nuclear bomb.
The B61-13 is set to inherit the accuracy and safety features of the B61-12, thanks to its guided tailkit. However, with an estimated yield of 360 kilotons, the B61-13 will retain the power of the older B61-7 it is replacing. This allows the new bomb to deliver more flexible nuclear strike options.
As the Pentagon noted, this improved capability is necessary to contain and deter America’s main nuclear rivals – China and Russia – as they expand their arsenals. Meanwhile, the B61-13 program will phase out outdated Cold War relics like the B61-7 and B83-1.
Only a few dozen units of the new product are planned for production, with the US having around 400-500 gravity bombs in total.