The Department of Energy (DOE) has delivered the first production unit of a program that aims to modernize and extend the service life of the B61 nuclear bomb.
DOE said Thursday its National Nuclear Security Administration finished the B61-12 Life Extension Program‘s FPU on Nov. 23rd. NNSA worked with the U.S. Air Force to deliver the unit after a nine-year timeline of design, development, testing and production efforts.
“With this program, we’re delivering a system to the Department of Defense that improves accuracy and reduces yield with no change in military characteristics, while also improving safety, security and reliability,” said Jill Hruby, NNSA administrator and DOE’s undersecretary for nuclear security.
The nuclear security agency plans to commence B61 LEP’s full-rate production in May 2022 and expect completion by fiscal year 2026. USAF and NATO have been employing the B61 gravity bomb since the late 1960s.