Washington: The US Air Force says it has recently test-dropped an upgraded gravity nuclear bomb to see whether its aircraft can carry the deadly weapon.
The B61-12 bomb, which was the first of the upgraded B-61 variant, was dropped by an F-16 Fighting Falcon jet over the Nellis Test and Training Range Complex in Nevada, the UPI reported on Friday, citing military officials.
During the test, the bomb’s non-nuclear components, such as the arming and fire control system, radar altimeter, rocket motors and weapons control computer, as well as the aircraft’s capability to deliver the weapon were reviewed.
The US Air Forces Nuclear Weapons Center (AFNWC) has been working with the Department of Energys National Nuclear Security Administration to extend the B61-12 bombs life. The new variant would replace four ageing versions of the B61 in the US nuclear arsenal.
The B61-12 gravity bomb ensures the current capability for the air-delivered leg of the US strategic nuclear triad well into the future for both bombers and dual-capable aircraft supporting NATO, said Paul Waugh, AFNWC’s Air-Delivered Capabilities director.
The bomb (pictured below) is compatible with the US Air Forces B-2A, B-21, F-15E, F-16C/D, F-16 MLU, F-35 and PA-200 aircraft.
Boeing and two other federally funded research and development centers designed and manufactured the inert bomb used in the test.
US President Donald Trump has made it clear that he would expand Americas nuclear arsenal to ensure it is at the “top of the pack.”
The US militarys recent test came amid simmering tensions between the US and North Korea over Pyongyangs nuclear tests.
Washington has threatened the North with a preemptive strike in case Pyongyang conducts its sixth test. Pyongyang detonated a purported hydrogen bomb in January 2016.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.