As part of its modernization efforts, the military branch will receive new nuclear bombs equipped for the digital targeting apparatus of the B-2 bomber.
While the B-2 Spirit bomber may be a relic of the 1980s, the aircraft remains in service today and will likely be a mainstay of the US Air Force well into the 2050s. With a long future ahead of it, the Pentagon will upgrade the bomber to handle the most advanced weaponry.
“It is a testament to the engineering team that here we are in 2016 and the B-2 is still able to do its job just as well today as it did in the 80s,” Maj. Kent Mickelson, director of operations for 394th combat training squadron, told Scout Warrior.
“It really is an awesome bombing platform and it is just a marvel of technology.” The upgrades will allow the B-2 to carry next-generation nuclear bombs like the B-61 Mod 12 and the Long Range Stand-Off (LRSO) weapon. Currently in development, the LRSO is expected to cost taxpayers at least $20 billion, while the B-61 upgrades will likely cost in excess of $9 billion. Another B-61 modification, Mod 11, will feature ground-penetrating capabilities. The B-2’s advanced digital radar and communications technologies mean that that the nuclear weapons could be dropped from high altitudes.