Two F-35A aircraft recently completed a full weapons system. The U.S. military’s B61 -12 nuclear bomb demonstration said that public release from the office of the F-35 Joint Program. The recent test completes the leading versions of the F-35’s B-61.
Designed in 1963, the B61 nuclear bomb has served the U.S. military for decades. Currently, under a life extension program, the U.S. military is consolidating four of its previous but active options in B61-12. The 12-foot (3.6 m) bomb is expected to weigh about 374.2 kg.
On October 4, pilots from 422 test and assessment squadrons took off in the US Air Force F-35A aircraft from the Nelis Air Force Base in Nevada and held two separate drops from model B61-12 of The Tonopah test site of the Sandia National Laboratories, located 160 miles (257 km). The “inert” bombs were dropped at various altitudes and air speeds, marking the latest tests of 10 guided F-35 shots. The plane cleared the planned envelope of the flight, the press release confirmed.
Following the failure of the tests, the Ministry of Defense (DoD) and the Ministry of Energy (DoE), which are partners in the program, will now analyze the data to verify that the test requirement is met by B-61 during its operation at F -35. The guide versions are considered “certified” flights and if the fulfillment criteria are met, the F-35 will be certified for use in nuclear operations.
While the U.S. military has never set an official launch date, the F-35 is expected to play an important role. Organization of the North Atlantic Treaty NATO’s nuclear deterrent mission will be deployed abroad for this purpose, the press release said.
The B61-12 is also expected to be certified for F-15E, B-2, F-16C / D, F-16 MLU, PA-200 and B-21.