F-35 with B61-12

F-35 Armament, fuel tanks, internal and external hardpoints, loadouts, and other stores.
  • Author
  • Message
Offline

tritonprime

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 513
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2015, 22:29

Unread post11 Sep 2015, 00:34

"General Confirms Enhanced Targeting Capabilities of B61-12 Nuclear Bomb"
Posted on Jan.23, 2014 in NATO, Nuclear Weapons, United States by Hans M. Kristensen

Source:
http://fas.org/blogs/security/2014/01/b61capability/

...General Schwartz’s answer was both clear and blunt: “Without a doubt. Improved accuracy and lower yield is a desired military capability. Without a question.”

When asked whether that would result in a different target set or just make the existing weapon better, General Schwartz said: “It would have both effects.”

General Schwartz said that the B61 tail kit “has benefits from an employment standpoint that many consider stabilizing.” I later asked him what he meant by that and his reply was that critics (myself included) claim that the increased accuracy and lower yield options could make the B61-12 more attractive to use because of reduced collateral damage and radioactive fallout. But he said he believed that the opposite would be the case; that the enhanced capabilities would enhance deterrence and make use less likely because adversaries would be more convinced that the United States is willing to use nuclear weapons if necessary.


..."Nuclear capable aircraft may have many advantages. Accuracy (as compared to other systems) is not one of them,” the Joint Staff argued in 2004 during drafting of the Doctrine for joint Nuclear Operations. Test drops of U.S. nuclear bombs normally achieve an accuracy of 110-170 meters, which is insufficient to hold underground targets at risk except with very large yield. The designated nuclear earth-penetrator (B61-11) has a 400-kiloton warhead to be effective. Therefore, increasing the accuracy of the B61 to enhance targeting and reduce collateral damage are, as General Schwartz put it at the conference, desired military capabilities.

Increasing the accuracy broadens the type of targets that the B61 can be used to attack. The effect is most profound against underground targets that require ground burst and cratering to be damaged by the chock wave. Against a relatively small, heavy, well-designed, underground structure, severe damage is achieved when the target is within 1.25 the radius of the visible crater created by the nuclear detonation. Light damage is achieved at 2.5 radii. For a yield of 50 kt – the estimated maximum yield of the B61-12, the apparent crater radii vary from 30 meters (hard dry rock) to 68 meters (wet soil). Therefore an improvement in accuracy from 100-plus meter CEP (the current estimated accuracy of the B61) down to 30-plus meter CEP (assuming INS guidance for the B61-12) improves the kill probability against these targets significantly by achieving a greater likelihood of cratering the target during a bombing run. Put simply, the increased accuracy essentially puts the CEP inside the crater.

Cratering targets is dirty business because a nuclear detonation on or near the surface kicks up large amounts of radioactive material. With poor accuracy, strike planners would have to choose a relatively high selectable yield to have sufficient confidence that the target would be damaged. The higher the yield, the greater the radioactive fallout.

With the increased accuracy of the B61-12 the strike planners will be able to select a lower yield and still achieve the same (or even better) damage to the underground target. Using lower yields will significantly reduce collateral damage by reducing the radioactive fallout that civilians would be exposed to after an attack. The difference in fallout from a 360-kiloton B61-7 surface burst compared with a B61-12 using a 10-kiloton selective yield option is significant.

No U.S. president would find it easy to authorize use of nuclear weapon. Apart from the implications of ending nearly 70 years of non-use of nuclear weapons and the international political ramifications, anticipated collateral damage serves as an important constraint on potential use of nuclear weapons. Some analysts have argued that higher yield nuclear weapons are less suitable to deter regional adversaries and that lower yield weapons are needed in today’s security environment. The collateral damage from high-yield weapons could “self-deter” a U.S. president from authorizing an attack.


... For NATO, the improved accuracy has particularly important implications because the B61-12 is a more effective weapon than the B61-3 and B61-4 currently deployed in Europe.

The United States has never before deployed guided nuclear bombs in Europe but with the increased accuracy of the B61-12 and combined with the future deployment of the F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter-bomber to Europe, it is clear that NATO is up for quite a nuclear facelift.

Once European allies acquire the F-35A Lightning II it will “unlock” the guided tail kit on the B61-12 bomb. The increased military capability of the guided B61-12 and stealthy F-35A will significantly enhance NATO’s nuclear posture in Europe.

Initially the old NATO F-16A/B and Tornado PA-200 aircraft that currently serve in the nuclear strike mission will not be able to make use of the increased accuracy of the B61-12, according to U.S. Air Force officials. The reason is that the aircraft computers are not capable of “talking to” the new digital bomb. As a result, the guided tail kit on the B61-12 for Belgian, Dutch, German, Italian and Turkish F-16s and Tornados will initially be “locked” as a “dumb” bomb. Once these countries transition to the F-35 aircraft, however, the enhanced targeting capability will become operational also in these countries.

The Dutch parliament recently approved purchase of the F-35 to replace the F-16, but a resolution adopted by the lower house stated that the F-35 could not have a capability to deliver nuclear weapons. The Dutch government recently rejected the decision saying the Netherlands cannot unilaterally withdraw from the NATO nuclear strike mission.
Offline
User avatar

smsgtmac

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 863
  • Joined: 02 Mar 2013, 04:22
  • Location: Texas

Unread post11 Sep 2015, 01:30

Hmmm. This is only marginally related to the F-35. It is entirely about a new weapon upgrade that (Shocker!) a FAS nuclear disarmament wonk went on ad nauseum about what the weapon upgrade itself 'means' and only in passing lists the F-35 in the litany of several aircraft that could carry it.

It was mildly entertaining to read a rabid disarmament advocate refer to himself as merely a 'critic'. :roll:
--The ultimate weapon is the mind of man.
Offline

tritonprime

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 513
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2015, 22:29

Unread post11 Sep 2015, 04:35

smsgtmac wrote:Hmmm. This is only marginally related to the F-35. It is entirely about a new weapon upgrade that (Shocker!) a FAS nuclear disarmament wonk went on ad nauseum about what the weapon upgrade itself 'means' and only in passing lists the F-35 in the litany of several aircraft that could carry it.

It was mildly entertaining to read a rabid disarmament advocate refer to himself as merely a 'critic'. :roll:


I expected some of you were going to object because this article came from the Federation of American Scientists. Sorry, I couldn't find a more politically neutral article.
Offline
User avatar

archeman

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 711
  • Joined: 28 Dec 2011, 05:37
  • Location: CA

Unread post11 Sep 2015, 23:24

smsgtmac wrote:Hmmm. This is only marginally related to the F-35. It is entirely about a new weapon upgrade that (Shocker!) a FAS nuclear disarmament wonk went on ad nauseum about what the weapon upgrade itself 'means' and only in passing lists the F-35 in the litany of several aircraft that could carry it.

It was mildly entertaining to read a rabid disarmament advocate refer to himself as merely a 'critic'. :roll:


Well technically, any country that signed the NPT (Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty) has agreed to the principal (in Artical IV) that this weapons type should EVENTUALLY be removed from operational military inventories worldwide....... when the conditions to do so exist.

Exactly how many commies and whackos we have to kill to get to those 'conditions' I'm not sure????
Daddy why do we have to hide? Because we use VI son, and they use windows.
Offline
User avatar

smsgtmac

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 863
  • Joined: 02 Mar 2013, 04:22
  • Location: Texas

Unread post12 Sep 2015, 04:03

archeman wrote: Well technically, any country that signed the NPT (Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty) has agreed to the principal (in Artical IV) that this weapons type should EVENTUALLY be removed from operational military inventories worldwide....... when the conditions to do so exist.

Exactly how many commies and whackos we have to kill to get to those 'conditions' I'm not sure????


LOL. When the "conditions to do so" exist, we will have by definition killed off all the commies and whackos. And so the solution is a closed-form one. :D Gotta love high-minded diplo-speak

Unfortunately, it is also an infeasible solution...in this universe anyway. Due to the unchanging nature of man (the only constant in warfare down through the ages) there will ALWAYS BE a certain number of Commie whackos and/or non-Commie whackos needing killin'. So even if we don't WANT to kill them, we must maintain sufficient stockpiles of weaponry and means of delivery to disabuse them of any idea they could kill us without care. I think of it as a form of 'tough love'. :wink:
--The ultimate weapon is the mind of man.
Offline
User avatar

spazsinbad

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 23589
  • Joined: 05 May 2009, 21:31
  • Location: ɐıןɐɹʇsn∀¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Warnings: -2

Unread post22 Jul 2016, 14:04

A Matter of Perception
22 Jul 2016 Will Skowronski

"​Equipping the Air Force’s F-35A with nuclear weapons would not lower the threshold of their use, Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, the deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, said Thursday. “Using nuclear weapons is a decision made by the President of the United States, nobody else,” Weinstein said during an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast in Arlington, Va. “I don’t see a potential use of an F-35 [as being] any different than having a dual-capable aircraft now with the F-15E ... or the F-16, so I look at it as continued modernization of our force,” he noted.

When asked whether the F-35’s stealth capability changes the equation, Weinstein said the aircraft doesn’t change who authorizes the use of nuclear weapons. He suggested the perception of a dual-capable F-35 will act as a stronger deterrent. Weinstein also said he traveled to Europe a few months ago and that NATO’s commitment to maintaining dual-capable aircraft “is as strong as it’s ever been.” In April, F-35 program director Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan told lawmakers the service anticipates beginning B61 Mod 12 integration on the F-35A in 2018. The first production of B61 Mod 12, which pairs an upgraded warhead with a precision-guided tailkit, is expected by 2020."

Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pa ... ption.aspx
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
Offline

uclass

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 962
  • Joined: 15 Feb 2013, 16:05

Unread post23 Jul 2016, 12:03

archeman wrote:Well technically, any country that signed the NPT (Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty) has agreed to the principal (in Artical IV) that this weapons type should EVENTUALLY be removed from operational military inventories worldwide....... when the conditions to do so exist.

I doubt that will happen for some time. Given China's move to MIRVs/MaRVs, there's even a case for having more in service, since China appears to be ramping up. Russian and Chinese warheads combined could well outnumber those of the US, UK and France.
Offline

arian

Banned

  • Posts: 1293
  • Joined: 23 Dec 2014, 09:25

Unread post24 Jul 2016, 03:54

uclass wrote:I doubt that will happen for some time. Given China's move to MIRVs/MaRVs, there's even a case for having more in service, since China appears to be ramping up.


That doesn't mean they are producing more actual warheads.

As for the FAS article, I'm not sure why some of you are objecting. I didn't read anything that appears controversial or even "anti-nuclear" in that article. The author is correct that a bunker-buster nuke will create a lot of fallout simply due to the nature of nuclear weapons: the closer to the surface the detonation, the higher the fallout.

Which is the irony of nuclear weapons: large nukes designed to take down cities with air burst actually create very little if any fallout. Small nukes that require surface burst or penetrating hits to take out small targets like bunkers and silos actually create a lot of fallout.

The description of why accuracy matters, however, was pretty good and important to keep in mind.
Offline

uclass

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 962
  • Joined: 15 Feb 2013, 16:05

Unread post28 Jul 2016, 09:23

arian wrote:
uclass wrote:I doubt that will happen for some time. Given China's move to MIRVs/MaRVs, there's even a case for having more in service, since China appears to be ramping up.


That doesn't mean they are producing more actual warheads.

If they're replacing single warhead ICBMs with up to 8 MIRVs on DF-5s and DF-31s then that strikes me as more warheads.

Many estimate they have over 1,000 warheads.
Offline

wrightwing

Elite 3K

Elite 3K

  • Posts: 3343
  • Joined: 23 Oct 2008, 15:22

Unread post28 Jul 2016, 13:39

arian wrote:
uclass wrote:I doubt that will happen for some time. Given China's move to MIRVs/MaRVs, there's even a case for having more in service, since China appears to be ramping up.


That doesn't mean they are producing more actual warheads.

As for the FAS article, I'm not sure why some of you are objecting. I didn't read anything that appears controversial or even "anti-nuclear" in that article. The author is correct that a bunker-buster nuke will create a lot of fallout simply due to the nature of nuclear weapons: the closer to the surface the detonation, the higher the fallout.

Which is the irony of nuclear weapons: large nukes designed to take down cities with air burst actually create very little if any fallout. Small nukes that require surface burst or penetrating hits to take out small targets like bunkers and silos actually create a lot of fallout.

The description of why accuracy matters, however, was pretty good and important to keep in mind.


Actually, a bunker busting nuke wouldn't produce nearly the fallout, as a surface burst nuke, as much of the blast effect would be below ground.
Offline
User avatar

sferrin

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 5458
  • Joined: 22 Jul 2005, 03:23

Unread post28 Jul 2016, 14:07

arian wrote:
uclass wrote:I doubt that will happen for some time. Given China's move to MIRVs/MaRVs, there's even a case for having more in service, since China appears to be ramping up.


That doesn't mean they are producing more actual warheads.


You can't possibly be that naïve. It's not like they have thousands of warheads sitting on a shelf doing nothing.
"There I was. . ."
Offline

arian

Banned

  • Posts: 1293
  • Joined: 23 Dec 2014, 09:25

Unread post29 Jul 2016, 02:51

wrightwing wrote:Actually, a bunker busting nuke wouldn't produce nearly the fallout, as a surface burst nuke, as much of the blast effect would be below ground.


Blast effect is irrelevant. And yes, it won't have as much fallout as a surface burst, but certainly more than an airburst. The point FAS is making, is that making the warhead smaller and more precise, giving it strong capabilities in bunker busting may give the illusion of a "safe" nuclear weapon, but the fallout problem is still going to be there.

There's nothing controversial in that. You don't have to like FAS or their agenda (I don't) to at least accept physical facts.

If they're replacing single warhead ICBMs with up to 8 MIRVs on DF-5s and DF-31s then that strikes me as more warheads.

Many estimate they have over 1,000 warheads.


Most estimates are at ~260 warheads. http://bos.sagepub.com/content/71/4/77.full.pdf

You can't possibly be that naïve. It's not like they have thousands of warheads sitting on a shelf doing nothing.


Sure they do. Just as does the US. China's peak number of warheads was ~500, now down to half that. You seem to think China's nuclear "buildup" is in the hundreds or thousands of warheads region. In reality, we're talking a few dozen missiles in total. It's a tiny arsenal by comparison to US or Russia.
Offline
User avatar

spazsinbad

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 23589
  • Joined: 05 May 2009, 21:31
  • Location: ɐıןɐɹʇsn∀¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Warnings: -2

Unread post02 Oct 2016, 03:55

LIGHTNING II WILL BE NUCLEAR CAPABLE
Oct 2016 Combat Aircraft Magazine

"THE USAF HAS confirmed that F-35s operated by partner nations as well as international customers will eventually be capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The capability to carry two B61-12 nuclear bombs internally is included as part of Block 4 follow-on development, it was confirmed on July 21. Test flights to assess vibration, acoustic and thermal environments of the F-35A weapons bay with the B61-12 began in mid-2015...."

Source: Combat Aircraft Magazine October 2016 Volume 17 Number 10
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
Offline

lookieloo

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1244
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2013, 08:04

Unread post29 Oct 2016, 22:41

In response to Russia's INF treaty violations, deploy F-35Bs in Europe to practice austere STOVL ops and toss-bombing/escape profile missions. Doesn't matter if they're actually nuke-capable yet.


It will demonstrate resolve and show the Russians that we have a reasonably survivable response to their so-called "nuclear de-escalation" plans without having to develop any new delivery systems of our own.
Offline
User avatar

sferrin

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 5458
  • Joined: 22 Jul 2005, 03:23

Unread post29 Oct 2016, 23:32

lookieloo wrote:It will demonstrate resolve and show the Russians that we have a reasonably survivable response to their so-called "nuclear de-escalation" plans without having to develop any new delivery systems of our own.


Better yet, make JASSM nuclear capable. Lots of W80s sitting on shelves with nothing to do.
"There I was. . ."
Next

Return to F-35 Armament, Stores and Tactics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests