Nuclear Arms Developments Continue among United States, Russia, and China
June 9, 2020 (EIRNS)—Russia, China and the U.S. are continuing with upgrades and improvements in the capabilities of their respective nuclear arsenals. TASS reported yesterday that the Knyaz Vladimir, the first of the improved Borei-class ballistic missile submarines, will enter service with the Russian Northern Fleet’s 31st submarine division on June 12. “The ceremony of raising the flag aboard the Knyaz Vladimir that will signify the underwater cruiser’s official inclusion in the Fleet’s combat structure,” said a source in the defense industry. Of the three earlier Borei-class boats, one is in service with the Northern Fleet and the other two are in the Pacific Fleet. Each boat is capable of carrying 16 Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
Meanwhile, “Warrior Maven” Kris Osborn, writing for the National Interest, complains that the Chinese have recently put two more ballistic missile submarines in service with the PLA Navy, bringing its total to six. “While the U.S. operates twice as many, the growing number of Chinese nuclear-deterrence submarines massively expands the ability of Beijing to hold the continental U.S. at substantial risk,” he writes.
In the U.S., the B61-12 upgraded nuclear bomb is another step closer to being deployed. Defense News reports that drop tests with an inert bomb were completed in March from an F-15E Strike Eagle, completing the certification of that aircraft as a carrier of the new version of the bomb. The bomb is also to be certified for the F-16 and the B-2 stealth bomber as well. The National Nuclear Security Administration estimates that the total program cost of the B61-12 will be about $8-$9 billion while the first production unit will roll off the assembly line in fiscal 2022.