US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) gave its authorization to start the preparatory phase to the production of the modernized nuclear B61-12 bomb. This was announced in a post on NNSA web-site.
"At the moment, B61 has the most outdated component base in US arsenal. The resource extension program will extend the life of the system for at least twenty years", - said the head of NNSA Frank Klotz.
The work on the engineering stage of the program was carried out during 4 years. Serial production launch is scheduled for 2020.
B61 is a major thermonuclear weapon of the strategic US nuclear forces. It is a modification of nuclear weapon developed in 1960s. It is assumed that the B61-12 will replace nuclear bombs of the 3rd, 4th, 7th and 10th versions, which are in the service of US Air Force today.
US is planning to deploy B61-12 bombs to European NATO bases.