Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of American Scientists, explained that the B61-13 will employ the same warheads from the 1980s- and 1990s-era B61-7s, fitted into the same casing and tail kit as the B61-12.

According to the report from the Pentagon, the B61-13 nuclear gravity bomb is 24 times more powerful than the Hiroshima nuke and 14 times larger than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945. B61-13 is also expected to hold a maximum load of 360 kilotons, like B61-7, with the same modern safety, security and accuracy features as B61-12. Moreover, this bomb provides additional options against harder and larger-area military targets.

This proposal is a response to the growing threat imposed by Russia and China against the United States. (Related: STRATCOM report reveals China has a larger nuclear ICBM arsenal than the US.)

“What makes this so dangerous is that Xi [Jinping] and [Vladimir] Putin are collaborating in new ways to threaten the U.S. alliance architectures, systems of trade, and safe and secure commerce – all of which have allowed Americans to be safe, prosperous, and free for decades,” said Rebeccah Heinrichs, a senior fellow with the Hudson Institute and an expert on strategic deterrence.

Russia and China’s strategic partnership challenges U.S. dominance in nuclear competition


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