Military Review

US completed tests of tactical thermonuclear bomb B61-12

23
The United States has completed the development and testing of prospective tactical nuclear weapons. After the completion of such work, the organizations involved in the project will have to start preparing for the production of such weapons. It is planned to complete this stage of work by the end of this decade. As a result of the successful implementation of all plans for the armament of the United States Air Force, a tactical thermonuclear bomb B61-12 LEP will have to be received.


1 August The National Nuclear Security Administration at the Department of Energy of the United States issued a press release, which refers to the current successes of the B61-12 project. It is reported that the National Administration involved in a promising project recently allowed the start of the next phase of work. After four years of development work, the B61-12 project moves to the stage of technological preparation of production. These works will become a transitional link between the development and production of new weapons. To complete the new phase is planned by the end of this decade. In 2020, the customer, represented by the US Air Force, will have to receive the first new-type products. In the future, production will continue, and will be carried out until the full implementation of the order.

The head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, Lieutenant General Frank J. Klotz, noted that the B61 bombs use the oldest components in all American arsenals. Implementation of the planned work on the modernization of these products will extend their service life by two decades. F.J. Klotz also said that reaching the next phase of the B61-12 project is a great achievement for the National Administration. Also, the head of the organization recognized the merits of scientists and engineers whose work lies at the heart of a project of particular importance to the national security of the United States.


B61-12 Trial Bomb Discharge July 1 g. Photo Nnsa.energy.gov


According to official information, the B61-12 project or LEP (Life Extension Program) is designed to upgrade a critical component of the United States nuclear arsenals. As part of the project, it was necessary to create a set of additional equipment, with the help of which it was possible to increase the service life of bombs, as well as improve their combat characteristics and security parameters. The new project required the most extensive use of components and assemblies of existing bombs B61 of various modifications. In addition, it was assumed that the new product B61-12 will replace all of its predecessors.

Commenting on the current successes of the B61-12 LEP project, US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said that the program to extend the life of the bombs is carried out in accordance with the instructions of President Barack Obama. Earlier, the head of state instructed the defense industry to maintain the potential of strategic nuclear forces at the required level while maintaining the necessary efficiency and increasing security. At the same time, it was necessary to gradually reduce the quantitative indicators of nuclear arsenals.

According to the Minister of Energy, the launch of the B61-12 bomb production will make it possible to abandon the B83-1 products, which are currently the latest example of megaton class weapons in the United States nuclear forces. Despite the reduction in the capacity of individual ammunition, E. Monise hopes that the updated arsenals will allow to preserve the required capacity, as well as to ensure the protection of his country and the allied states of the United States.

The development of the B61-12 project was carried out by experts from Los Alamos, Livermore and Sandia national laboratories. Also involved in the work of the company Boeing, whose task was to design some components of the bomb. Production of advanced weapons will be conducted at several enterprises belonging to the Ministry of Energy. Previously, these plants have already participated in the release of various weapons, including B61 bombs.

Recall the project B61-12 Life Extension Program was launched in 2012 year. The main purpose of the work, which attracted a number of research, design and production organizations, was to create a new tactical thermonuclear bomb within the existing B61 family. By using ready-made components and some new units, it was required to create a product with enhanced characteristics. Interestingly, the technical task for the B61-12 project implied the use of the least powerful mode of operation of the main thermonuclear charge, which was proposed to compensate for the increased accuracy of hitting the target. The latter was to be provided with a new guidance system.

The tactical thermonuclear bomb B61 of the first version was developed in the early sixties. In 1966, this product was adopted. Later several modifications of the bomb were created, some of which entered service and were used by the air force. The development of new modifications of the bomb continued for several decades. For example, the product B61-11 was developed and put into service at the turn of the nineties and the two thousandth.


Defeat conditional, 1 July 2015 g. Photo Nnsa.energy.gov


To date, the US Air Force has five types of bombs, which are available in expanded form or in warehouses. Operation of the B61-3, B61-4, B61-7 and B61-11 products continues. B61-10 bombs are placed in reserve, but can be redeployed if necessary. Products of all available modifications differ in charge power and some other features. For example, the B61-11 bomb was designed as a weapon to destroy bunkers. A characteristic feature of all bombs in the B61 family is the absence of any guidance systems. They can only be used in the free-fall version.

The new project B61-12 LEP implies the use of the thermonuclear charge from the B61-4 bomb, which is distinguished by the lowest power in the entire family, 50 CT. It is proposed to mount a set of various equipment that enhances the main characteristics in accordance with the technical specifications for a body with a similar warhead. At the head of the ammunition is placed part of the electronics needed to detonate the charge, and on the tail is mounted a special unit with control equipment that provides guidance to the specified target. Thus, in the B61-12 project, the same ideas were used as in the case of the JDAM bombs, also built on the basis of existing weapons.

The tail section with control systems is completed with navigation equipment, autopilot and steering gears connected to the rotational surfaces of the tail unit. With this equipment, the bomb can track its position in space relative to the target, as well as adjust its own trajectory. According to some sources, a new bomb must use an inertial navigation system for targeting. In addition, satellite navigation is possible.

It was assumed that the use of the homing system will significantly improve the accuracy of hitting the target in comparison with previous bombs of the family, and this will make it possible to significantly reduce the power of the warhead. The comparatively lower power of the bomb in this case is compensated by an accurate fall on the target or in its immediate vicinity. For comparison, early B61 modifications had a circular probable deviation up to 160-180 m. In the case of B61-12, this parameter should be reduced to 5-10 m.

From 2012 to 2015, organizations involved in the B61-12 LEP project carried out various design work. In the summer of last year, the first tests of a bomb with new guidance equipment took place. The test used a prototype bomb, which had an interesting origin. This product was an assembly of the B61 serial bomb of previous modifications, released in the sixties, and a new guidance system. At the same time, a regular thermonuclear warhead was removed from the old hull, instead of which a weighing simulator was placed.

The first test dumping of a tactical thermonuclear bomb of a new model took place on July 1 of the year 2015. The prototype was hung on the pylon of the F-15E fighter-bomber, which soon set off from the Nellis airbase at the Tonopah training ground. All carrier systems and bombs worked out normally. In the area of ​​the target, the aircraft dropped the bomb, which was successfully aimed at the specified target and conditionally hit it. In the future, it was planned to carry out several new test discharges for additional testing of the operation of the B61-12 product systems.

During the production of advanced bombs, it is planned to use the available components as widely as possible. Only some new components will be re-released, primarily the tail section of the product with guidance systems. Thus, future products B61-12 will be a modernized bombs of previous models of the family. Among other things, this will lead to a gradual reduction in the number of old bombs in the stock in the original configuration.


B61-12 bomb scheme. Figure Russiancounsil.ru


According to reports, since 1966, the American nuclear and allied enterprises have collected more than 3 thousand B61 bombs of all serial modifications. Due to obsolescence and physical obsolescence, as well as due to planned reductions in arsenals, the United States Air Force currently has approximately 825 bombs of five modifications. Less than half of this amount is deployed at airbases and can be applied upon receipt of the relevant order.

At the beginning of the next decade, the Pentagon plans to launch the serial production of the B61-12 controlled thermonuclear bombs by modifying the products in stock. In total, it is intended to upgrade 480 bombs in this way. The number of products planned for deployment has not yet been specified. After the completion of all these works, only two types of tactical thermonuclear bombs will remain in the arsenals of the US Air Force: B61-11 and B61-12.

As a replacement for the old bombs of their family, the new B61-12 LEP will be sent to NATO bases in Europe, where similar weapons already exist. According to various sources, it is currently deployed in European countries in several countries to 180 bombs of B61 of various modifications. The storage facilities of the airbases make it possible to keep in the reserve about twice as many such weapons, which, if received, can be used for their intended purpose.

The production of B61 thermonuclear bombs started in 1966, after which for a long time the US Air Force received weapons of various modifications. Thus, the operation of such weapons has been going on for half a century. By upgrading to the new B61-12 project, the product life will be extended for another two decades. Due to this, new versions of tactical bombs will remain in service, at least until the early forties. What consequences for the situation in the world and international relations will have such a rearmament of the US Air Force - will be known later.


On the materials of the sites:
https://nnsa.energy.gov/
http://flightglobal.com/
https://lenta.ru/
http://rg.ru/
http://russiancouncil.ru/
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  1. Siberia 9444
    Siberia 9444 3 August 2016 07: 15
    0
    For comparison, early modifications of B61 had a probable circular deviation of up to 160-180 m. In the case of B61-12, this parameter should be reduced to 5-10 m.

    This is not very big for a thermonuclear bomb. request Although if they lay down in the city what
    1. theadenter
      theadenter 3 August 2016 08: 31
      +2
      No one in the city is likely to drop bombs (for this there is an arsenal more serious than these bombs). But on protected objects, accuracy plays one of the main roles. More predictable destruction will be.
    2. Bongo
      Bongo 3 August 2016 10: 14
      +6
      Quote: Siberia 9444
      This is not a big deal for a thermonuclear bomb, although if you put them down in the city

      It is important, especially taking into account the fact that this thermonuclear munition has the ability to stepwise control power (0,3, 5, 10, and 50 CT), this will allow using it both for tactical and strategic purposes, as well as minimize collateral damage from the use. Compared with bombs of earlier modifications, the emission of the NPS in it should be significantly less, even with a ground explosion.
    3. Vadim237
      Vadim237 3 August 2016 15: 09
      +1
      "The new development will make it possible to effectively deliver strikes against pinpoint, well-protected command posts and military facilities that can only be disabled by a precise hit of a nuclear bomb, since they are at great depths." - They will not be used in cities.
  2. Operator
    Operator 3 August 2016 09: 16
    +1
    The B61-12 anti-bunker bomb is designed for use against highly protected underground objects. A small-sized nuclear charge is placed in a thick-walled case made of tungsten alloy for deepening into the ground before undermining and organizing a camouflage explosion.

    In tests, the B61-12 bomb showed three times the worst penetration of soil and reinforced concrete compared to the BLU-109 conventional anti-bunker bomb, whose charge housing is made of a high-strength steel barrel of the 203-mm howitzer (whose bore is bored to 253 mm). BLU-109, when discharged from an aircraft, is buried in soil at 30 meters, in reinforced concrete at 6,7 meters.

    Therefore, the B61-12 modernization project can be considered a surrogate solution.
  3. avg-mgn
    avg-mgn 3 August 2016 09: 51
    +2
    In principle, as far as one can understand from the article, the development of the B61-12 aims not to recycle old charges, to extend their life by in-depth modernization in order to increase the accuracy of hitting the target. Here the question arises (after all, today a number of conventional bombs already have the indicated accuracy of hitting), so what's the matter, why is the end of the decade? Where is the dog buried, what is hidden behind official data?
  4. Old26
    Old26 3 August 2016 10: 15
    +3
    Kirill! It seems to me that your text has a slight inaccuracy. Namely
    After completing all these works, only two types of tactical thermonuclear bombs will remain in the arsenals of the US Air Force: B61-11 and B61-12.

    But the B61-11 bomb in the "penetrator" version is a modernization of the B61-7 strategic bomb. Yes, and in materials about US nuclear weapons, it is usually said that there are 5 modifications of the B61 bomb in service: three tactical - 61-3, 61-4, 61-10 and two strategic - 61-7 and 61-11. so the modernization of the strategic B61-7 into a penetrator variant is unlikely to have made a tactical bomb out of the B61-11

    Quote: Operator
    The B61-12 anti-bunker bomb is designed for use against highly protected underground objects. A small-sized nuclear charge is placed in a thick-walled case made of tungsten alloy for deepening into the ground before undermining and organizing a camouflage explosion.

    In tests, the B61-12 bomb showed three times the worst penetration of soil and reinforced concrete compared to the BLU-109 conventional anti-bunker bomb, whose charge housing is made of a high-strength steel barrel of the 203-mm howitzer (whose bore is bored to 253 mm). BLU-109, when discharged from an aircraft, is buried in soil at 30 meters, in reinforced concrete at 6,7 meters.

    Therefore, the B61-12 modernization project can be considered a surrogate solution.

    Andrew! The anti-bunker is B61-11, not B61-12. Model 12 is simply manageable
    1. Operator
      Operator 3 August 2016 13: 20
      +1
      For a non-anti-bunker bomb with a power of 50 Kt, one would not have to bother with controllability, for it a CVO of 300 meters is enough.

      But if you are right, the B61-12 modernization project is as pure as a child’s tear budget laughing
  5. VSkilled
    VSkilled 3 August 2016 10: 58
    +2
    Paraphrasing the unforgettable Leonid Filatov:

    Bomb, she, of course - well,
    A bomb - it’s not bad either ...
    But - from such a stray ...
    From afar - you will not get!

    In other words, the carrier aircraft (and this is by no means a missile warhead capable of maneuvering with wild overloads!) Inevitably falls into the air defense coverage area.

    Which (and - thanks to the "evil commies"!) Is traditionally strong in our country.

    "Eat something, he will eat ... Yes - who will give him?" ©
    1. Bongo
      Bongo 3 August 2016 11: 05
      +5
      Quote: VSkilled
      In other words, the carrier aircraft (this is by no means a missile warhead capable of maneuvering with wild overloads!) Inevitably falls into the air defense coverage area.

      Which (thanks to the "evil commies"!) Is traditionally strong in our country.


      God forbid, the 10th part remained from what we had under the "evil commies". Our current air defense system is full of holes, especially beyond the Urals. As for the B61-12, it is a very promising and flexible bomb. One way or another, neither the United States, nor Russia, nor other countries intend to give up free-falling nuclear bombs.
      1. VSkilled
        VSkilled 3 August 2016 13: 04
        -3
        Even the ancient C-300 has a hit radius of over 100 km.

        Tell us here about bombs that can plan for SUCH distances.

        Opposite missiles are "free-fall" bombs, this is the stone age.
        We have "Calibers" as a delivery vehicle for nuclear weapons - an order of magnitude (if not two!) More effective.

        The P'indos were in absolute certainty that they were just about to, and ... Russia would follow the USSR, with the formation of a patchwork quilt of many appanage principalities, similar to today's Africa.

        The p'indos know how to count money, therefore, the expenditures on military development have been cut and greatly.

        And, it is - see how it happened ...

        Therefore, all this movement with "free-falling nuclear bombs" is more - from impotence. To somehow "plug the hole".

        And, regarding the fact that no one "is not going to give up free-falling nuclear bombs," Duc, the product is manufactured and functional - let it lie, so ... "just in case."

        In our warehouses, the PPSh machines (!) "In oil" are still kept.

        And, this ... "Demand - creates supply." In the face of a massive "bomb" threat, the SAM family receives an additional further impetus to both circulation and development.
        1. zyablik.olga
          zyablik.olga 3 August 2016 13: 56
          +5
          Quote: VSkilled
          Even the ancient C-300 has a hit radius of over 100 km.

          What modification of the S-300 do you think is ancient? The oldest in the army are the S-300PS with a launch range depending on the type of missile defense system of 75-90 km. And be careful with the numbers, "by an order of magnitude" is 10 times!
          1. VSkilled
            VSkilled 3 August 2016 14: 19
            0
            I am a "techie" and I know perfectly well the meaning of the expression "by an order of magnitude."

            "Caliber" is at least ten times more effective than a "free falling" bomb. Only ... "clinical" humanitarians can not understand this.

            The S-300 itself is "ancient", if only because it is already ... the "grandfather" (!) Of the S-500 and the "father" of the S-400.

            Regarding the "numbers", the right word - have a quick wit to start, at least look at the "Wiki":
            “In 1999, several types of missiles were introduced for the first time at once, in addition to the 5V55R (V-500R), 48N6 and 48N6E2 S-300PMU1 missiles, could use two new missiles: 9M96E1 and 9M96E2. Both are significantly smaller in size than previous missiles, and weigh 330 and 420 kg, respectively, while carrying smaller masses (24 kg) of warheads [46]. 9M96E1 has a radius of destruction of 1-40 km and 9M96E2 1—120 km. For maneuvering, they rather use not even the aerodynamic plumage, but the gas-dynamic system, which allows them to have a very high probability of destruction, despite the much smaller warhead. The probability of hitting a ballistic target with a single missile is 0,8-0,9 / 0,8-0,97 [47 »©
            1. Bongo
              Bongo 5 August 2016 06: 12
              +2
              Quote: VSkilled
              The S-300 itself is "ancient", if only because it is already ... the "grandfather" (!) Of the S-500 and the "father" of the S-400.

              Write nonsense, "grandparents" ... request What military specialty do you have in general, since you undertake to discuss this? What is the difference between C-300PM2 and C-400? And what does the anti-ballistic missile system C-500 have to do with these anti-aircraft systems? I consider referring to Vika a sign of incompetence, what is written there very often does not correspond to reality, especially on anti-aircraft systems. Some of the numbers you translated, let's say, are not quite correct, and some types of missiles - were seen only at the landfills.
        2. Vadim237
          Vadim237 3 August 2016 14: 42
          0
          I think that it’s not difficult to use the B61-12 warhead on the planning bomb AGM 154 - which can fly 560 kilometers.
          1. VSkilled
            VSkilled 3 August 2016 15: 12
            +4
            "... on the planning the bomb ... "©

            Have you ever played glider sports? I have practiced.

            If you want to fly further, you must slow down. This is the law of glider flight.

            Therefore, in order to fly "560 kilometers", the bomb must protect the height. Any maneuver starts to devour this height, just "not childishly".

            And, the target, slowly flying at a decent height, and even "in a straight line", this is just a "pvoshnik's dream".

            Unlike sharply maneuvering missiles at extremely low altitude.
            1. Vadim237
              Vadim237 3 August 2016 18: 37
              -3
              So this bomb has a rocket accelerator and it can maneuver - a sort of mixture of a bomb and a rocket.
        3. Vadim237
          Vadim237 3 August 2016 18: 40
          -1
          They will use these bombs when all air defense systems are destroyed - UAVs, cruise missiles and warheads.
      2. NEXUS
        NEXUS 3 August 2016 17: 41
        +3
        Sergey, welcome, friend! drinks
        Quote: Bongo
        God forbid, the 10th part remained from what we had under the "evil commies".

        If not at 20 ...
        Quote: Bongo
        Our current air defense system is full of gaps, especially beyond the Urals.

        They will go to the S-350 (Vityaz) troops and the S-500 will gradually feel better. God grant, so soon ...
        Quote: Bongo
        One way or another, neither in the USA, nor in Russia, nor in other countries are they going to refuse free-falling nuclear bombs.

        They don’t ask for food, and the modernization of such ammunition is a good thing. Why throw away what time has proved its effectiveness. hi
  6. Old26
    Old26 3 August 2016 21: 34
    +1
    Quote: NEXUS
    They will go to the S-350 (Vityaz) troops and the S-500 will gradually feel better. God grant, so soon ...

    May be. However, we can hardly achieve such a density of air defense units as they were under the USSR. We've all been "optimized" ........ (then there is an untranslatable pun using local ideomatic expressions)
    1. NEXUS
      NEXUS 4 August 2016 01: 37
      +2
      Quote: Old26
      May be.

      And what remains to be done, how to simply hope and believe.
      Quote: Old26
      However, such a density of air defense units as they were under the USSR is unlikely to be achieved.

      Hmm ... perhaps we will achieve, due to the range of anti-missiles, a greater number of these same missiles on the complex, well, and if the radars are "goggling". At the same time, electronic warfare systems, such as, for example, Krasukha-4 ... in general, are still too abstract now ...
      Quote: Old26
      . (The following is an untranslatable pun using local ideomatic expressions)

      With this I completely agree.
  7. Dekabrev
    Dekabrev 3 August 2016 22: 50
    0
    The bomb is tactical, but very heavily buried bunkers, usually in the depths of the defense. This is ammunition for front-line use, including headquarters, command posts, etc. And no one wants to advance after breaking through the front of a highly radioactively contaminated territory, and therefore they limit their capacity. By the way, thermonuclear munitions, unlike nuclear ones, give significantly less infection.
  8. Old26
    Old26 4 August 2016 11: 58
    +1
    Quote: NEXUS
    And what remains to be done, how to simply hope and believe.

    Yes, it remains.

    Quote: NEXUS
    Hmm ... perhaps we will achieve, due to the range of anti-missiles, a greater number of these same missiles on the complex, well, and if the radars are "goggling". At the same time, electronic warfare systems, such as, for example, Krasukha-4 ... in general, are still too abstract now ...

    let's not take the missile defense yet. It is air defense. Not always the quantity (the number of missiles per launcher) goes into quality.
    Take the same Yuzhny VO, former SKVO (without Crimea). On its territory there were air defense units of the country, air defense units of the ground forces, there were anti-aircraft brigades of district and army subordination, anti-aircraft missile regiments were part of motorized rifle (tank) divisions, anti-aircraft missile and artillery divisions were part of motorized rifle and tank regiments. Now what? instead of the country's air defense forces - units of the 4th command of the Air Force-Air Defense, consisting of 4 S-300 divisions and 2 S-400 divisions, and 2 Buk divisions. All in the Rostov-Novorossiysk region. Two air defense brigades of the NE - one again in the Krasnodar region, the second in North Ossetia. The motorized rifle brigade now has the same division consisting of Strela-10 - Tunguska (instead of Shilka), plus a division of "Tori". Considering that there are fewer brigades now than there were regiments before, you understand that the density has not increased