The US Congressional Budget Office has reported that the Pentagon plans to allocate about 25 billion dollars for the modernization of tactical nuclear forces in the next thirty years.
The White House is considering the deployment of its modernized nuclear bombs at European military bases, Sputnik cited a diplomatic source as saying on Tuesday.
It added that the issue is expected to be discussed during the two-day NATO summit due to commence in Brussels on July 11.
The source referred to the modernization of US tactical B61 bombs, which have reportedly been deployed in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Turkey since the 1960s.
Now these bombs are set to be transformed into B61-12 nuclear warheads, which are equipped with a GPS guidance system, the source said.
Tests of the B61-12 Bombs
In June, the US Air Force conducted the first qualification tests for the new B61-12 guided nuclear bomb using B-2 Spirit stealth bombers.
On June 9, the US 419th Flight Test Squadron conducted the bomb’s assembly tests at a military training ground in Nevada.
The first batch of the B61-12 bombs, which will be compatible with fifth generation F-35 Lightning II fighter jets, is expected to enter service by 2020.
Bomb vs Smart Missile
Earlier, Russian military expert Sergei Sudakov told Sputnik that the US pursues a policy of modernizing its military and technical capabilities, which includes plans to deploy the B61-12 bombs at US bases across the world, including in South Korea.
Sudakov explained the B61-12 bombs drastically differ from its previous modifications, first of all in terms of performance characteristics. In addition, the B61-12 can be delivered to the target by means of a wider fleet of aircraft.At the same time, Sudakov pointed out that even though the bomb’s explosive capacity has been increased, it will hardly exceed the characteristics of so-called smart missiles.
“In the modern-day world, [the B61-12] bombs will not be needed if there are smart missiles,” Sudakov concluded.