The agency announced that the first qualification test for the B61-12 gravity nuclear bomb was done on March 14th at the Tonopah test range in Nevada and it was successful.
The test was intended to evaluate the weapon’s “non-nuclear functions” and the capability of the F-16 fighter to successfully deploy the bomb. An F-16 fighter from Nellis Air Force Base dropped the “non-nuclear test assembly,” the NNSA said in a statement.
The test evaluated the weapon system’s “non nuclear functions” and the F-16 fighter’s capability to successfully carry the bomb. The F-16 dropped a non-nuclear test assembly for this test NNSA said in a statement.
#NNSA & @usairforce complete first B61-12 #LEP qualification flight test. @NellisAFB @NNSANevada https://t.co/cmhlhJsPnC pic.twitter.com/JbTpHn2cCB
— Frank Klotz (@FrankKlotzNNSA) April 14, 2017
“The successful test provides critical qualification data to validate that the baseline design meets military requirements,” said Brigadier General Michael Lutton, NNSA’s principal assistant deputy administrator for military application. The NNSA is part of the Department of Energy, which is charged with managing US nuclear weapons.
A modern version of the B61 gravity bomb, the B61-12 is set the replace the existing variants in service. The B61 is currently the main force of the US Airforce’s nuclear arsenal.
President Donald trump has already approved and expensive yet ambitious plan to expand the US nuclear capability, the program of which was started under President Obama.
The video for this test has not been released yet. However, you can see the last year’s video here: