The upgrade of the B61-12 nuclear bomb carried by tactical aircraft will cost $8.1 billion, Madelyn R. Creedon, the Defense Department’s assistant secretary for global strategic affairs told a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee this week.
The B61-12 stands out as the oldest nuke in the U.S. arsenal, dating back to the 1960s. It needs some spiffing up, Creedon explained, like replacing an expensive parachute system with new tail fins that will increase accuracy. She did not say how much those will cost for the 400 bombs planned for upgrade through 2024.
In what amounts to an over-the-top weapons systems daily double, the B61-12 needs new tail fins so it can fit onto the $397 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the most expensive military procurement in the history of the universe.
Bob Brewin joined Government Executive in April 2007, bringing with him more than 20 years of experience as a journalist focusing on defense issues and technology. Bob covers the world of defense and information technology for Nextgov, and is the author of the “What’s Brewin” blog.