TheÂ U.S. Air Force and theÂ Energy Department‘sÂ National Nuclear Security Administration have concluded flight tests needed to qualify the B61-12 gravity bomb’s non-nuclear functions.
A B-2A Spirit BomberÂ aircraft released the bomb’s non-nuclear test assembly during the two tests that took place June 9 atÂ Tonopah Test Range, Nev., DOE said Friday.
The assembly consisted of an NNSA-designed bomb component and a USAF-procuredÂ tail-kit developed by Boeing.
The tests are part of theÂ B61-12 Life Extension Program, which aims to bolster the bomb’sÂ safety, security and reliability capacities, as well as extend the weapon’s service life.
The Sandia National Laboratories and the Los Alamos National Laboratory designed hardware used in the tests, while theÂ Nuclear Security Enterprise plants manufactured the equipment.
âThese qualification flight tests demonstrate the B61-12 design meets system requirements and illustrate the continued progress of the B61-12 life extension program to meet national security requirementsâ said Brig. Gen. Michael Lutton, NNSAâs principal assistant deputy administrator for military application.
The government intends to replace all existing B61 bomb variants with theÂ B61-12, whose first production unit is expected to be completed in fiscal 2020.