Politico Reports, U.S. Accelerates Deployment of Modernized Nuclear Bomb to Europe
Oct. 27, 2022 (EIRNS)—The B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb is going into Europe faster than originally planned. This is according to a diplomatic cable seen by Politico and two unnamed officials. According to Politico, the cable reveals that U.S. officials told NATO allies during a close-door meeting in Brussels this month that the arrival of the upgraded bomb, originally slated for next spring, is now planned for arrival this December. Asked for comment, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder responded via email that “while we aren’t going to discuss details of our nuclear arsenal, modernization of U.S. B61 nuclear weapons has been underway for years and plans to safely and responsibly swap out older weapons for the upgraded B61-12 versions is part of a long-planned and scheduled modernization effort.” Ryder claimed: “It is in no way linked to current events in Ukraine and was not sped up in any way.”
The cable, previously undisclosed, was written to be distributed throughout the Pentagon and State Department to give policymakers a rundown of what was discussed at the Oct. 12-13 NATO defense ministerial meeting. It clearly indicates that allies are jittery, Politico reports. The document says that during the meetings, 15 NATO allies raised concerns that the alliance “must not give in to Putin’s nuclear blackmail.” It adds: “Given the rising volume and scale of Russia’s nuclear rhetoric, a subset of allies requested continued consultations at NATO to ensure continued readiness and consistent messaging.”
The B61-12 is modernized from earlier versions of the B61 bomb. Aside from a life extension replacement of components within the nuclear explosive package, the bomb also includes a modified tail kit that gives it far greater accuracy, allowing its variable yield to be dialed back to a maximum of 50 kilotons from the original maximum of 340 kt. This led arms control advocates and anti-nuclear activists to charge that the modifications have made the B61-12 “more usable” as a military weapon.