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U.S. conducts successful test of new ‘adjustable’ nuclear bomb as tensions with North Korea rise again

(National SentinelNational Security: The United States has conducted a successful test of a new nuclear bomb whose destructive yield and radioactive fallout can be adjusted, and at a time of heightened tensions with North Korea.

As reported by Zero Hedge, two of the new bombs — upgraded versions of the B61 bomb called the B61-12 — were dropped from F-15 fighter jets on August 8 at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada, and were designed to test the “non-nuclear functions and the aircraft’s capability to deliver the weapon.”

In addition to its nuclear yield being adjustable, the B61-12 is also steerable:

And as you can see on the right side of the above graphic, the U.S. plans to deploy 180 of the new bombs beginning in 2020 as they come off the assembly line (though the Trump administration may rethink deploying them to Turkey, given its recent moves to more closely align with Russia and Iran).

“This demonstration of effective end-to-end system performance in a realistic ballistic flight environment marks another on-time achievement for the B61-12 Life Extension Program,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Lutton, the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration’s principal assistant deputy administrator for military application. “The successful test provides critical qualification data to validate that the baseline design meets military requirements. It reflects the nation’s continued commitment to our national security and that of our allies and partners.”

As North Korea continues its slow development and miniaturization of nuclear arms, the U.S. is preparing a nuclear bomb that is both precise and adjustable so as to limit collateral damage and fallout — two developments that likely won’t ease concerns in Beijing and Moscow, but should.

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