This is really the only option America has if Japan or South Korea want US nukes based there
As the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program heats up, some are calling for the return of American tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea, or possibly basing them in Japan.
And while the notion of America deploying so-called “tactical” nukes to South Korea or Japan may send arms controllers into a fit, there are actually few options if the US does get the nod from Asian nations.
During the Cold War, the United States had a variety of delivery platforms for the tactical nukes. There were artillery rounds like the W48. There were missiles like the MGM-52 Lance. There were also air-dropped tactical nuclear bombs.
But arms control agreements through the 1990s and later cut America’s options way down — no more cruise missiles, artillery rounds or ballistic missiles were allowed after the treaties were signed, so today the only US option available other than full-on doomsday weapons are air-dropped bombs.
If Tokyo or Seoul want US nukes there, America could deploy the B61 bomb. According to the Nuclear Weapons Archive, this bomb has been in service with the United States since 1966 – meaning it’s got over 50 years of service. Its most notable feature is its versatility thanks to “dial a yield” technology, meaning it can provide the force equivalent to 300 tons of TNT all the way out to 340,000 tons of TNT.
Any combat plane in the United States arsenal has been fitted at one time or another to use this bomb. Five versions of the bomb are currently in the stockpile, the B61 Mod 3, B61 Mod 4, M61 Mod 7, B61 Mod 10, and B61 Mod 11. A sixth version, the B61 Mod 12, is in development, adding the ability to use an internal guidance system, according to Popular Mechanics.
Deployment to South Korea and Japan would place the weapons next to the most likely delivery platform for tactical nuclear strikes: F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 8th and 51st Fighter Wings at Osan and Kunsan Air Bases in South Korea and the 35th Fighter Wing in Japan combine for five squadrons of the planes.
The deployment of this system does come with the need for added security. During the Turkish coup of 2016, the security of the nukes became a concern, prompting their eventual evacuation.
How the 65-year old B-52 Stratofortress just keeps getting better with age
When you add modern computers and tinker with the bomb bay, it turns out the the B-52 can kill more targets.
This Swedish fighter was decades ahead of its time
Its best-known combat was in the service of a fictional drug cartel in the movie "Fire Birds." But in the Cold War, the Draken was truly ahead of its time.
This is how Hanoi reacted to the epic Ken Burns 'Vietnam War' documentary series
Ken Burns' "Vietnam War" was released to relatively little noise in Vietnam. Here's a look at what audiences there had to say.
7 epic songs that prove 'Call of Duty' knows how to lay down tracks
Video game music has improved a lot since 8-bit days. A lot.
The Army is looking for ways to keep generals from misbehaving
Struggling with behavior problems among senior officers, the Army is putting together new mental health, counseling, and career management programs.
These are the heroics that earned this EOD Petty Officer a Silver Star
Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Bill Moran, recognized EOD 1st Class Thomas for his conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy.
This why the national anthem is played before sporting events
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson ordered that the "The Star-Spangled Banner" be played at all military ceremonies and other various occasions.
The Navy wants this drone to extend its fighter range beyond 1k miles
The Navy is exploring how to use unmanned aircraft to extend the range of fighter jets by 1,000 miles. The concept, at this time, is called the MQ-25 Stingray.
How the Pentagon plans to spend $700M to drop drones
ISIS has been using drones to drop bombs on Iraq Security Forces, and the Department of Defense is looking for a better defense against them.
THE MIGHTY SURVEY GIVE-AWAY
We want to hear your thoughts. Complete our survey for a chance to win 1 of 5 gaming consoles