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Air Combat Command Concludes Design Certification Test of B61-12 Nuclear Bomb; Lt. Col. Daniel Jackson Quoted

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F-35A with B61-12
F-35A with B61-12

Air Combat Command (ACC) and its maintenance partners have completed the final flight test exercise required to certify the B61-12 bomb's nuclear design. 

A pair of F-35A units dropped B61-12 joint test assemblies during the aircraft's first full weapon system demonstration, ACC said Monday.

Pilots dropped the JTAs at Tonopah Test Range while observing operationally realistic flight envelopes. The test's completion concludes the B61-12 design's on-aircraft testing and has produced data for further analyses by the departments of Defense (DOD) and Energy (DOE).

“The B61 series weapons are tactical gravity nuclear weapons that can be used on dual-capable aircraft like the F-15E and F-16C/D,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Jackson, division chief of strategic deterrence and nuclear integration at ACC's headquarters.

“Adding ‘nuclear capable’ to a 5th-Gen fighter that already brings several conventional-level capabilities to the table adds strategic-level implication to this jet," Jackson added.