“The B61-12, when it comes online, will replace four earlier variants. So it will be reducing the numbers along those lines,” the spokesman said.
The new atomic gravity bomb is part of the B61 Lifetime Extension Program to phase out the older B61-3, —4, —7 and —10 bombs, according to the NNSA.
On July 1, 2015, the NNSA and US Air Force conducted a test-flight of a dummy, or non-nuclear, B61-12 bomb.
The NNSA spokesperson was not able to say whether the total number of US atomic weapons would remain the same or be reduced after the modernized B61-12 is brought online.
“All those things make it safer and more reliable,” the spokesman explained.
The shift to fewer types of nuclear weapons is consistent with Obama administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, as well as the President’s statements to ensure a safe, secure and effective US nuclear deterrent, according to the NNSA.
President Barack Obama began his term in office under a “nuclear zero” policy, an aim to rid the world completely of nuclear weapons.
In 2010, the Obama administration secured US-Russian bilateral nuclear arms reductions under the New START Treaty, aiming at reducing both sides’ arsenal to 2,000 deployed nuclear weapons by 2018.