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Fw: [armchairactivist] More on: "Bunker Buster": a nuclear weapon?

Oct 12, 2001 09:18 AM
by Pendragon

check out these sites

As an anti-nuclear activist for a long time, I worked on this issue, and new
immediately this a.m. when I heard they dropped 'bunker busters' that they
dropped the "revised" not new nukes - or so "they" say while they violate
the treaties - earth penetrator weapon. Only anti-nuclear activists probably
knew what happened this am - or those that love to read this kind of stuff.

These sites have photos too.

>From Wired News, available online at:,1294,47319,00.html

Nuke 'Em From On High
By Kennedy Grey

2:00 a.m. Oct. 8, 2001 PDT

Following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon,
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was questioned on ABC television's This
Week program about the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons in the
expected conflicts to come.

In practiced Pentagonese, Rumsfeld deftly avoided answering the
question of whether the use of tactical nuclear weapons could be ruled out.

Though large "theater" thermonuclear devices -- doomsday bombs --
don't fit the Bush administration's war on terrorism, smaller tactical nukes
do not seem out of the question in the current mindset of the Defense

The most likely candidate is a tactical micro-nuke called the B61-11,
an earth-penetrating nuclear device known as the "bunker buster."

The B61-11 was designed to destroy underground military facilities
such as command bunkers, ballistic missile silos and facilities for
producing and storing weapons.

However, it could be used against the warren of tunnels and caves
carved under the Afghan mountains that are often cited as a potential refuge
for the U.S. government's prime suspect, Osama bin Laden.

According to an article in the May 1997 edition of the Bulletin of the
Atomic Scientists: "The B61-11's unique earth-penetrating characteristics
and wide range of yields allow it to threaten otherwise indestructible
targets from the air.

"The 1,200-pound B61-11 replaces the B53, a 8,900-pound, nine-megaton
bomb that was developed as a 'city buster'..."

The B53 was deliverable only by vulnerable B-52s; In contrast, the
smaller and lighter B61-11 can be delivered by the stealthier B-2A bomber,
or even by F-16 fighters.

The B61-11 is the most recent device added to the U.S. nuclear arsenal
since 1989, according to the story.

It was developed and deployed secretly. The U.S. military sneaked it
past test and development treaties, as well as public and congressional
debate, by defining the B61-11 as an adaptation of a pre-treaty technology
rather than a new development.

The B61-11 is designed to burrow through layers of concrete by way of
a "shock-coupling effect."

The design directs the force of the B61-11's explosive energy
downward, destroying everything buried beneath it to a depth of several
hundred meters, according to a story in the March 2, 1997 issue of Defense

The B53, on the other hand, with a force equal to 9 million tons of
TNT, penetrates the earth simply by creating a massive crater, rather than
the more precise downward blow of the B61-11.

Depending on the yield of the bomb, the B61-11 can produce explosions
ranging from 300 tons of TNT to more than 300,000 tons. This is
significantly less than the B53, but still far larger than even the greatest
conventional non-nuclear device in U.S. stockpiles. And it is several times
more powerful than the atomic weapons dropped on Japan in 1945.

Studies by the Natural Resource Defense Council estimate that more
than 150 B61-11s are currently in the U.S. arsenals, scattered among NATO
aircraft carriers and planes on bases in Germany, Great Britain, Italy,
Turkey, Belgium, Netherlands and Greece.

Many B61-11s were withdrawn from Europe during the '90s and are now
stored at Kirtland and Nellis Air Force bases in the United States.

According to a desk release from the Air Force's public affairs
office, tests of the earth-penetrating capabilities of the B61-11 were
completed on March 17, 1998, in frozen tundra at the Stuart Creek Impact
Area, 35 miles southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Two unarmed B61-11s were dropped to test their ground-penetration
capability. The tests were designed to measure the nuclear bomb casing's
penetration into frozen soil and the survivability of the weapon's internal

A team excavated the two unexploded dummy bombs and took careful
measurements of their angles and depth of penetration into the soil, which
were 6 and 10 feet, according to the Air Force. The shells were sent back to
Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico for full analysis of how the
simulated internal components fared in the impact.

The B6-11's casing didn't rupture in any of the tests, including drops
through concrete from 40,000 feet. All bomb casings were recovered 100
percent intact, according to the release.

Any debate inside the corridors of power about using tactical nukes
will be heightened by the intelligence buzz surrounding bin Laden's possible
ownership of Russian nuclear "suitcase" bombs purchased from Chechen mafia.

Those weapons are said to be hidden in deep caves and fortified
tunnels in remote regions of Afghanistan.

Following the Sept. 11 attacks, the discussion of ways to eradicate
this potential nuclear threat -- while simultaneously destroying bin Laden
and his teams -- may have led to talk about tactical weapons that can
destroy even heavily fortified underground shelters.

Related Wired Links:

Smallpox's 7 Percent Solution
Sep. 28, 2001

Making the Case for Pakistan
Sep. 27, 2001

How Osama Cracked FBI's Top 10
Sep. 27, 2001

What Future War Looks Like
Sep. 18, 2001

Copyright (C) 1994-2001 Wired Digital Inc. All rights reserved.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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