Developmental updates to a U.S. nuclear gravity bomb include “significant” alterations to key weapon components, says a new independent report.
The B-61 bomb’s “Mod 12” variant incorporates a fully revamped back section, and lacks the parachute incorporated in predecessors, according to the Friday image analysis by Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.
The altered weapon’s Air Force-developed “tail kit” is designed to improve its targeting precision. Kristensen wrote that the new variant’s exact accuracy remains uncertain, but there is a roughly 98-foot margin of error in non-nuclear weapons fitted with the Internal Navigation System thought to be included in the forthcoming B-61 bomb update.
“Even if [the precision] were a little less for the B-61-12, it is still a significant improvement of the [360- to 590-foot] accuracy that nuclear gravity bombs normally achieve in test drops,” Kristensen wrote in his assessment, published on the FAS Strategic Security blog.
Bombs refurbished under the U.S. B-61 life-extension program are slated for deployment in several allied NATO states in Europe, replacing older versions. Kristensen wrote that despite plans to revamp the weapons with new detonation features and components to increase their accuracy, lawmakers in Belgium and the Netherlands said Washington had not alerted them to “the upcoming deployment of improved nuclear capabilities in their countries.”
“The [Belgian and Dutch] government position is that there is no improvement and therefore no need to inform anyone,” he wrote.
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."