💣 Pentagon to Develop Super-Powerful Nuclear Bomb
The US Defense Department is on the path to developing a new version of the B61 nuclear bomb, boasting 24 times the destructive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II.
📜 Seeking Congressional Approval
With plans unveiled on Friday, the Pentagon is set to seek Congressional approval and funding for the development of this powerful weapon, named the B61-13, designed to replace the existing B61-7 bomb.
💥 Destructive Capacity Compared
The new bomb's maximum yield is pegged at 360 kilotons, making it immensely more powerful than 'Little Boy', the 15-kiloton bomb that obliterated Hiroshima. However, it’s not the mightiest in the US arsenal, a title held by the B83 bomb with a 1.2-megaton yield.
🌍 Historical Context of Nuclear Weapons
The US's new weapon still pales in comparison to the 'Tsar Bomba' tested by the Soviet Union in 1961, with a staggering 58-megaton yield, equivalent to over 1,500 Hiroshima bombs.
🛡️ A Response to Changing Security Landscape
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, John Plumb, stated that this development mirrors the evolving security environment and escalating threats from potential adversaries, necessitating the US to maintain a credible deterrent.
🧪 Recent Underground Nuclear Test
Less than two weeks prior, the US conducted an underground nuclear explosion in Nevada, marking its first since the early 1990s, shortly after Russia’s lower parliament chamber passed a bill on withdrawing from the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
🇷🇺 Russia's Reaction
Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated that should the US resume nuclear testing for arsenal modernization, Russia may follow suit, reigniting concerns over a potential nuclear arms race.