Russian military expert has raised concerns about developing a new version of the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb in the USA, the Russian military news agency Interfax-AVN reported on 2 July.
Russian Academician Alexei Arbatov, a military expert, said that the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb, a series of tests conducted by the United States, poses no direct threat to Russia, but it complicates strategic relations.
The Russian expert, who heads the Center for International Security of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, told Interfax-AVN that the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb fits into the American concept, allowing limited nuclear warfare that “allegedly will not entail a general escalation and a general death,” and this, in turn, may lower the threshold of using nuclear weapons.
According to him, the bomb tested in the US is not just another modification of the B61.
“This is a certain qualitative leap, if earlier the US had free-fall bombs, this bomb is guided, it has much more accuracy, ” the expert said.
The former chief of the Strategic Missile Force Staff, and current adviser to the missile force commander, Viktor Yesin, said on Monday to the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets that the version of B61-12 bomb now tested by the US military from a strategic bomber, before this test was conducted by tactical aircraft. “This means that this bomb will be universal, and can be used not only by tactical aircraft but also by strategic ones.” This is the first high-precision nuclear bomb, ” V. Yesin noted.
According to him, Russia does not have a similar weapon. “We focus only on one type of high-precision weapons – high-precision cruise missiles,” said the expert.
Previously, the US Air Force has tested the B61-12 nuclear bomb by dropping a dud from a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber over Nevada.
“These qualification flight tests demonstrate the B61-12 design meets system requirements and illustrate the continued progress of the B61-12 life extension program to meet national security requirements,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Lutton, NNSA’s principal assistant deputy administrator for military application.
The B61 Mod 12 nuclear gravity bomb is expected to be made compatible with the F-35, and to enter into service by 2020, replacing existing variants of the B61 in the US arsenal. The weapon will also be carried by the B-2 Spirit and its successor, the B-21 Raider, which is currently under development.