Peace Action West & the Federation of Atomic Scientists – 2013-05-25 11:13:46
ACTION ALERT: Block the $10 Billion B61 Bomb
Peace Action West
(May 23, 2013) — The federal government is about to spend $10 billion on 400 bombs that even military commanders say have “no military value.” Your representative sits on the committee that can cut funding for the B-61 nuclear bomb before it is too late. Take action below to urge your representative to stop the bomb that costs more than its weight in gold.
ACTION: To send the following letter, Click here.
I am writing to urge you to withhold funding in fiscal year 2014 for the B61 bomb Life Extension Program (LEP).
A recent review projected that this program will cost $10.4 billion and be delayed for another three years. Four hundred B61s are reportedly planned for refurbishment, at roughly $25 million per bomb.
There may alternatives to the planned B61 LEP that are more budget-friendly, but these alternatives have not been sufficiently examined. Currently these B61 bombs are stationed in Europe, and some NATO members, such as Germany, have called for the B61 to be removed from their country. Tactical B61 bombs might not be deployed a decade from now, when the proposed rebuilding program would be complete.
Congress has time to sufficiently evaluate the need for a $10 billion B61 LEP. A delay would relieve budget pressure and increase clarity about the future need for the B61 before the United States makes major investments in retaining it. I urge you to support fencing the funds for the B61 LEP in FY 2014.
Please let me know what you intend to do on this issue.
$1 Billion for a Nuclear Bomb Tail
Federation of Atomic Scientists
WASHINGTON, DC (April 12, 2013) — The US Air Force plans to spend more than $1 billion on developing a guided tailkit to increase the accuracy of the B61 nuclear bomb.
The cost is detailed (to some extent) in the Air Force’s budget request for FY2014, which shows development and engineering through FY2014 and full-scaled production starting in FY2015.
The annual costs increase by nearly 200 percent from $67.9 million in FY2014 to more than $200 million in FY2015. The high cost level will be retained for three years until the project decreases after production ceases in FY2018. Some additional funding is needed after that to complete the integration and certification on.
Production of the guided tailkit is intended to match completion of the first new B61-12 bomb in 2019, a program that is estimated to cost more than $10 billion. Although the number is a secret, it is thought that the U.S. plans to produce roughly 400 B61-12s.
The expensive guided tailkit is needed, advocates claim, to make it possible to use the 50-kiloton nuclear explosive package from the tactical B61-4 bomb in the new B61-12 against targets that today require the 360-kiloton strategic B61-7 bomb. By increasing accuracy, the B61-12 becomes more useable because it significantly reduces the amount of radioactive fallout created in an attack.
Once deployed in Europe, the B61-12 will also be able to hold at risk targets that the B61-3 and B61-4 bombs currently deployed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Turkey cannot target.
The B61-12 program will maintain compatibility on all five current B61-capable aircraft (B-2A, B-52H, F-16, F-15E and PA 200). In 2015, integration, design and testing will begin on the new stealthy F-35A Joint Strike Fighter.
The Air Force budget request shows that B61-12 integration is scheduled for Block 4A and Block 4B aircraft in 2015-2021 with full operational capability in 2022 — three years after the first B61-12 is scheduled to be delivered.
The combination of the new and more accurate guided B61-12 on the stealthy F-35A will significantly increase the capability of the US non-strategic nuclear posture in Europe.
This development is out of tune with U.S. and NATO pledges to reduce the role and reliance on nuclear weapons, and will make it a lot easier for hardliners in the Russian military to reject reductions of Russia’s larger inventory of non-strategic nuclear weapons.
This publication was made possible by a grant from the Ploughshares Fund. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.