US sends precision nuclear weapons to Europe in huge upgrade to arsenal
Vladimir Putin yesterday accused former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss of threatening Russia with a nuclear attack.
08:23, Fri, Oct 28, 2022 | UPDATED: 11:51, Fri, Oct 28, 2022
Joe Biden is sending adjustable, highly accurate tactical nuclear weapons to Europe as part of an £8.5billion upgrade which will send a clear signal to Vladimir Putin. The Pentagon has insisted the move is unconnected to the Russian President’s nuclear threats. But the announcement nevertheless came hours after Putin’s latest belligerent speech.
Putin accused fmr UK Prime Minister Liz Truss of threatening Russia with a
The “dial-a-yield” B61-12 thermonuclear bombs are so-called because their payloads can be switched between 0.3, 1.5, 10 and 50 kilotons.
By comparison, the bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 had a yield of roughly 15 kilotons.
Measuring 12 feet in length, they are equipped with tailkits enabling them to deliver via plane, either as “dumb” gravity bombs, or with an accuracy of 30 metres via “guided drop” mode.
Joe Biden's move is not a response to Vladimir Putin's threats, insists the Pentagon (Image: GETTY)
Liz Truss resigned as UK Prime Minister last week (Image: GETTY)
The deployment is connected to a $10billion (£8.5billion) upgrade of the US nuclear arsenal, specifically to its B61-class unguided nuclear bombs, first rolled out in 1968. At the moment, 100 B61s are stored at bases across Europe, including Germany and Italy.
The weapons, which can be dropped using B-2 stealth bombers, F-15s, F-35s and Tornadoes, have had "all of the bomb’s nuclear and non-nuclear components" either replaced or refurbished, the US energy department confirmed.
The process is due to get underway in December, having been brought forward in the spring, suggesting the US was responding the several nuclear threats made by Putin since the start of the war, with allies informed in September.