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B-2 Bomber Certified for Use of B61-12 Nuclear Bomb

The National Nuclear Security Agency (NNSA) announced yesterday that the B61-12 nuclear bomb is now formally in the U.S. stockpile and cleared for operational use on the B-2A Spirit stealth bomber, reports The War Zone. It’s the first U.S. combat aircraft cleared to employ the advanced B61 variant operationally. The B61-12 is basically an upgrade of older versions of the B61 bomb that combines life extension modifications with a guidance kit that turns it into a precision guided weapon. The yield of the B61-12 is selectable up to 50 kt.

U.S. Air Force F-35A Joint Strike Fighters, F-15E Strike Eagles, and F-16C/D Vipers, as well as the service’s future B-21A Raider stealth bombers, are also in the process of being certified to employ the B61-12. Some NATO F-35s and F-16s, as well as Germany’s swing-wing Tornado combat jets, are also set to be cleared to employ these weapons as part of the alliance’s nuclear sharing arrangements. The timeline for the certification of these other aircraft remains unclear.

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