The Air Force said it is requesting $198.4 million in acquisition funding in fiscal year 2015 for the B61 tail kit assembly, roughly 500 percent more than the $33 million it requested for FY ’14.
The B61 is a gravity-driven nuclear bomb developed by the Energy Department and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for the Defense Department. Current versions in the inventory were fielded between 1978 and 1990 and, DoD said, require component refurbishment and replacement. The B61 provides the strategic weapons for the airborne leg of the nuclear triad and are carried on the B-52, B-2 and NATO dual-use aircraft. The tailkit assembly is to help improve accuracy of the weapon.
The FY ’15 program would continue the design, development, test, integration, qualification and nuclear certification activities in support of the B61-12 life extension program (LEP) to complete Phase 1 engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) to meet a critical design review (CDR) in early FY ’16. It would also continue software development and integration for F-15E and F-16 aircraft and begins B-2 and PA-200 integration.
The Air Force said in its budget overview book released Tuesday investing $1.2 billion will allow the Air Force to field the modernized weapon to meet operational requirements. Boeing [BA] is the prime contractor for the B61 tail kit assembly.