The United States’ latest nuclear weapon is 24 times stronger than the one dropped on Japan.
The US is planning to create a new, more powerful nuclear bomb called the B61-13. This bomb is reported to be 24 times more powerful than the ones used in Japan during World War II.
The decision to pursue the B61-13 was announced by the United States Department of Defense, but it is pending approval from the US Congress and the allocation of funds. The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) would be responsible for producing the B61-13.
The B61-13 is designed to have a similar explosive yield to the B61-7, which has a maximum output of 360 kilotons, as per information from the Pentagon. To put this in perspective, the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II was approximately 15 kilotons, making the B61-13 significantly more powerful. Additionally, the B61-13 is nearly 14 times more powerful than the 25-kiloton bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
The US Department of Defense states that this decision is in response to a rapidly changing security environment, as outlined in the 2022 Nuclear Posture Review. The B61-13 is seen as a measure to address evolving security threats and demands.
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, John Plumb, has emphasized that this development is aimed at maintaining the US’s ability to deter and respond to strategic attacks while assuring its allies.
It is framed as a reasonable step to manage the challenges posed by the dynamic security environment. Importantly, the production of the B61-13 will not lead to an increase in the total number of nuclear weapons in the US’s arsenal.
The B61-13 is also expected to include modern safety, security, and accuracy features similar to those found in the B61-12, an earlier variant. This is in line with efforts to ensure the reliability and precision of the weapon.
It’s worth noting that this announcement comes at a time of rising international tensions. The US conducted a high-explosive experiment at a nuclear test site in Nevada, which added to the global concerns.
However, the US Department of Defense has clarified that this initiative is not a direct response to any specific current event.
Instead, it is part of an ongoing assessment of the changing security environment.
In summary, the US is working on developing a more powerful nuclear bomb, the B61-13, which is significantly stronger than the bombs dropped on Japan during World War II. The decision is driven by a perceived need to adapt to a changing security environment and evolving threats. The aim is to maintain deterrence capabilities and ensure the safety and accuracy of the weapon. This initiative is part of a long-term assessment and is not solely in response to recent events.