Photo Gallery Washington's Plans to Modernize Its Nuclear Weapons

The US wants to modernize its nuclear weapons -- including those that are stationed in Germany -- more comprehensively than was previously known. The new variant of warhead would now be used against deep bunkers and are good even as a strategic nuclear weapon.
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A B61 nuclear bomb trainer is shown in an undated archive photo: The United States wants to deploy a new version of the weapon. Experts say it will be packed with more capabilities than the current version.

Foto: USAF
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The new B61-12 is expected to replace all previous American nuclear free-fall bombs, including the bunker-busting B61-11 and the strategic B83 bombs.

Foto: USAF
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A B-2 "Spirit" bomber is shown dropping the casing of a B61-11 bomb. Experts claim the B61-12 contains so many additional features that it can pretty much be considered a new weapon. It will be deployable on a number of different aircraft.

Foto: © STR New / Reuters
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These include the German armed forces' Tornado fighter jets. Some 20 B61 nuclear bombs are stationed at Germany's Büchel air force base. They are the last remaining nuclear weapons located on German soil.

Foto: dpa
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The Büchel air base is pictured here in a May 2009 archive photo. Most experts believe there is no solid military purpose for maintaining the US nuclear weapons stationed in Europe.

Foto: ddp
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Development and construction of the B61 nuclear weapons began in 1961. The costs of modernization are already spiralling out of control, with final costs expected to massively exceed original estimates. The Pentagon now believes the total price will reach at least $10 billion.

Foto: USAF
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The F-35 Lightning II, also known as the "Joint Strike Fighter" is pictured here in a December 2006 archive photo. As part of the modernization project, the B-61 will be adapted for deployment on board the new stealth fighter jets.

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A B-52 Stratofortress: The long-distance bomber will continue to be equipped for the deployment of nuclear weapons.

Foto: USAF
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As will the B-2 stealth bomber.

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Pictured here are Russian Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missiles. The stationing of modernized B61 nuclear weapons could complicate disarmament negotiations with Russia.



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