As part of Biden’s study, the Pentagon will decommission the nuclear gravity bomb

Pentagon To Scrap Nuclear Gravity Bomb As Part Of Biden Review




During a review of strategic weapons doctrine, US sources say that the Pentagon will get rid of one of its nuclear gravity bombs because it can’t destroy underground facilities that are very hard to reach.

The B83 bomb, a megaton-class weapon delivered by B-2 stealth bombers, was retired last month as part of the Biden administration’s confidential nuclear posture review, a comprehensive reassessment of strategic forces and their use, which was revealed to Congress last month.

A senior Pentagon source told The Washington Times that the weapon is “expensive to maintain and of diminishing value.”

The decision to scrap the weapon reflects a growing challenge for US planners to dissuade nuclear enemies such as China, North Korea, and Russia, according to Pentagon sources. All three countries are beefing up their nuclear arsenals with new strategic weapons and warheads.

“The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) considered the need to keep opponent hard and deeply buried targets in danger,” a defense official said.When the NPR looked at how important the B83-dwindling 1 was in this job, they decided that it should be retired.

Supporters of the B83 argue that it is still necessary to prevent China, which has created a 3,000-mile network of underground tunnels snaking through the country. The “Underground Great Wall” tunnel system is used to make and store China’s growing number of nuclear weapons.

In addition to the B83, the administration’s proposed budget eliminates plans for the SLCM-N, a nuclear-capable sea-launched cruise missile. According to defense sources, US Strategic Commander Adm. Charles Richard opposed both the B83’s retirement and the cancellation of the SLCM-N.

According to Adm. Richard, the senior military official in charge of nuclear forces, the B83 bomb is one of several weapons that need to be preserved in the arsenal to sustain nuclear deterrence until a new weapon is found.

US strategic deterrence was hurt by the Pentagon canceling the weapon, says Rep. Doug Lamborn, a member of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee.

In an interview, Mr. Lamborn remarked, “This is a horrible move because it takes away one option we have in our tool box that keeps potential adversaries guessing.”

According to the Colorado Republican, the B83 is the only weapon capable of dealing with threats and targets “that can’t be dealt with in any other manner.”

Mr. Lamborn said that Republicans will try to overturn the B83’s retirement by including language in this year’s national defense authorization bill that says the military must keep the bomb. He said that the idea has support from both parties.

It is becoming more difficult to deter nuclear threats.

Mr. Lamborn stated, “We will continue to reduce the number and type of our nuclear weapons while China and Russia increase and modernize the number and kinds of their weapons.” At the end of the day, we need a more robust nuclear defense posture, and we need to reject this NPR.

The administration “does not have a plan to replace” the B83, according to a congressional military staffer. According to the aide, research will be done in the future to find the best way to reach deeply buried targets, which is the B83’s primary goal.

“They have no plans to replace it with either a nuclear or conventional weapon,” the aide said. “They clearly accept that they are taking a risk in this space.”

To make matters worse, Chinese, North Korean, Russian, and maybe Iranian military forces are putting more nuclear weapons and warheads into reinforced underground structures that the B83 is designed to neutralize.

Removing the bomb will not save a lot of money either. It is predicted that repairing and prolonging the weapon’s life will cost between $100 million and $200 million. Given that the administration is spending $1.2 trillion over the next 30 years on a major upgrade of US nuclear capabilities, this amount doesn’t seem like a big deal.

Last year, the budget asked for $50 million to make B83 last longer.

Initially, the Pentagon explored replacing the B83 with the B61-12, a nuclear gravity bomb. The B83’s ground-penetrating capabilities are present in this bomb. The B61-12, on the other hand, is unable to match its explosive strength.

The B82 is expected to have a yield of 1.2 megatons, or 1.2 million tons of TNT.

At a House hearing last week, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Tod D. Wolters agreed with Adm. Richard that keeping both the B83 and the SLCM-N is necessary because “many alternatives compound the problem for prospective foes against us.”

Despite being in charge of NATO’s nuclear capabilities, deterring Russian nuclear threats, Gen. Wolters claims he was not informed by Pentagon planners on the decision to retire the B83.

Nuclear weapons’ importance is being reduced.

Late last month, a classified version of the nuclear posture review was delivered to Congress. In the still-secret review, a senior defense official says that policymakers have told the U.S. to cut down on the use of nuclear weapons in the country’s defense strategy.

According to a Pentagon fact sheet, the assessment “underscores our commitment to decreasing the role of nuclear weapons and reestablishing our leadership in arms control.” “We will keep putting strategic stability first, try to avoid costly arms races, and, where possible, make risk reduction and arms control arrangements.”

However, the shift comes at a time when US analysts believe China is pursuing a “strategic breakout” with a large buildup of its nuclear weapons, which have long been eclipsed by those of the US and Russia, according to Adm.

Richard, the Stratcom chief. Beijing has begun construction of three enormous missile fields in western China for the new 10-warhead DF-41 long-range missile, as well as adding scores of new road-and rail-mobile ICBMs to its arsenal, in addition to its large underground nuclear complex.

The DF-41s will increase China’s strategic warhead arsenal from roughly 200 to over 1,500.

North Korea is thought to have made a lot of long-range missiles that can hit the United States, as well as small nuclear warheads that can fit inside the rockets.

A nuclear-powered cruise missile, nuclear-tipped hypersonic glide vehicles, and a megaton-warhead underwater drone are among the new strategic weapons being developed by Russia. If NATO allies try to help Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said many times that he is ready to use the Kremlin’s nuclear weapons.

According to US spy sources, Russia was reportedly building dozens of deep underground nuclear reactors in 2016. According to the construction, Moscow appears to be preparing for a future nuclear battle.

Russia also constructed a massive subterranean strategic command center at Kosvinsky Mountain, roughly 850 miles east of Moscow, in the Ural Mountains. Both Voronovo, about 46 miles south of Moscow, and Sharapova, about 34 miles from the capital, have been identified as underground Russian leadership compounds.

The government has tied a new national security policy to both a nuclear posture review and a missile defense review. The defense strategy had to change after Russia invaded Ukraine, sources say, but they don’t say how much that changed.

The Pentagon’s principal tactic, according to a fact sheet on national defense policy, is “integrated deterrence,” which combines military strength with other aspects of national power and networks of alliances to protect the homeland. However, the still nebulous integrated deterrence failed to stop Russia from invading Ukraine.

Given that integrated deterrence failed in Ukraine, a defense insider said, “they’ve put their pens down on the national security plan.”

Even though the NATO alliance has been unified by the attack on Kyiv, Rep. Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican and member of the Armed Services Committee, claimed the Pentagon’s concept of coordinated deterrence “failed in Ukraine.”

The reality is that we endeavored, mostly through non-military instruments of national power, to deter an invasion of Ukraine, and that attempt failed, he said.

He may not have been scared by anything, but “integrated deterrence as envisaged by the Pentagon and as it was implemented in the specific situation of Ukraine, as a matter of fact, did not work.”

As a member of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense, Patty-Jane Geller says that the administration’s new nuclear policies have hurt deterrence by going back to Obama-era tactics.

As a conflict rages along NATO’s borders, Mr. Biden’s decision to propose a reduced role for nuclear weapons might cause allies to doubt the administration’s guarantee that it will live up to its extended deterrence obligations, she wrote in a Washington Times op-ed piece.

“The United States must be strong in the face of some of the most serious threats to national security.”