B61-12 continues to meet qualification test schedule – Los Alamos Monitor

Posted: August 29, 2017 at 6:40 pm

B61-12 continues to meet qualification test schedule

The Department of Energys National Nuclear Security Administration and U.S. Air Force completed two qualification flight tests of B61-12 gravity bombs Aug. 8 at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada, the NNSA announced Monday.

The non-nuclear test assemblies, which were dropped from an F-15E based at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, evaluated the weapons non-nuclear functions and the aircrafts capability to deliver the weapon, NNSA officials said.

These tests are part of a series over the next three years to qualify the B61-12 for service.

The first qualification flight test occurred in March.

The B61 was designed and engineered by Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1963 and is the oldest type of nuclear weapon in the stockpile. The weapon is undergoing a life extension program at Los Alamos to convert four versions of the warhead into a single modification with a new tail kit for added accuracy, the B61-12.

If testing is successful, new version is scheduled to be produced in 2020.

The B61-12 life extension program is progressing on schedule to meet national security requirements, said Phil Calbos, acting NNSA deputy administrator for Defense Programs. These realistic flight qualification tests validate the design of the B61-12 when it comes to system performance.

The flight test included hardware designed by Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories, manufactured by the Nuclear Security Enterprise plants, and mated to the tail-kit assembly section, designed by the Boeing Company under contract with the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

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B61-12 continues to meet qualification test schedule - Los Alamos Monitor

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