The production of the new American nuclear bomb B61-12 has begun
Steph Deschamps / December 7, 2021
The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has successfully completed the first production unit (FPU) of the life extension program for the B61-12 atomic bomb, which will replace the devices currently deployed in Europe, the Department of Energy announced.
The B61-12 LEP (for Life Extension Program), launched in February 2012, is to upgrade nuclear and non-nuclear components to extend the life of the current gravity bomb by about 20 years by improving its safety and reliability.
It will replace the current B61-3, -4 and -7, some of which have been in service since 1968, albeit with modifications.
The power of each bomb can be adjusted to range from 0.3 to 360 kilotons, the equivalent of 360,000 tons of TNT.
The B61-12 LEP helps modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and maintain the nation's air-delivered nuclear deterrent capability. NNSA, in close coordination with the U.S. Air Force, has worked to deliver this first production unit of the B61-12 after more than nine years of design, development, qualification and component production, the Department of Energy (DoE) said in a statement released Thursday.