The B61 family of nuclear bombs

"B61 Nuclear Bomb" by rocbolt is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Nuclear Notebook: B61 nuclear bomb upgrade and history

The Obama administration has approved an upgrade to the B61 nuclear bomb that will, through use of a new tail kit assembly, become a guided standoff nuclear bomb. If the upgrade—the 12th modification of the original B61 design—is pursued as planned, the US Air Force will obtain the low-yield, precision-guided nuclear weapon it first sought in the 1990s, despite concerns that it could increase the likelihood of use. The weapon’s overall price tag is expected to exceed $10 billion, with each B61-12 estimated to cost more than the value of its weight in gold…

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The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists and Robert S. Norris, a senior fellow with the FAS. The Nuclear Notebook column has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook column has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987.


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