Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 13, February - March 1997
US Said to Modify Nuclear WeaponThe Commander of US strategic nuclear forces, Air Force General Eugene Habiger, announced on 24 February that the B61 nuclear warhead had been successfully modified to enable it to destroy underground targets such as hardened command centres or production facilities. The new warhead, completed in December 1996 and designated the B61-11, will, according to General Habinger, be able to penetrate "a significant ways" underground. Although a modification of the B61, the new warhead will replace the B53, itself designed to hit underground targets. According to Captain John Kennedy, Strategic Command spokesperson, on 24 February:
"This is not a new weapons system... It maintains the same capability as the B53 but upgrades its safety and reliability."
Report: US military develops bunker-busting nuclear bomb, Agence France-Presse International News, 24 February.
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.