WASHINGTON: The United States plans to spend billions to upgrade a decades-old atomic bomb designed to stop a Soviet invasion of Europe, as part of a controversial project to modernise its nuclear arsenal.
Some lawmakers and experts dismiss the effort as a colossal waste of money.
But top commanders and government officials argue the B61 nuclear gravity bomb needs to be maintained so other weapons can be scrapped and to ensure America retains a ‘credible’ force.
Under President Obama’s planned upgrade, the various models of the bomb would be replaced by a modified version, the B61-12, which would have a smaller yield and more accuracy. The modernisation also will allow the Obama administration to retire the most powerful atomic bomb, the B83, officials said.
Some members of Congress are wary of the price tag, as the estimated cost for modernising the B61 bomb keeps rising, from an initial $4 billion to $8.1 billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2013.