The United States Air Force (USAF) and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) have completed the first development flight test of a controversial update to a nuclear bomb that has been use since the 1960s.
A ‘safe’ version of the the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb with no warhead was tested at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada.
The tests are designed to extend the lifespan of the nuclear weapon by upgrading some of its parts.
This test is the first of three development flight tests for the B61-12 Life Extension Program (LEP), with two additional development flight tests scheduled for later this year.
‘This test demonstrated successful performance in realistic flight environments followed by an effective release of a development test unit from a USAF F-15E from Nellis AFB. Telemetry, tracking and video data were successfully collected,’ the USAF said.
The test provides confidence in the weapon system and instrumentation system designs and the hardware at its current state prior to going to a baseline design review in 2016.
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