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Russian Shocked. US B-2 Bomber carrying new B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb fly entering warzone

U.S. Air Force Releases Photos Of Mock B61-12 Nuclear Bomb Test
Last month, the U.S. Air Force revealed a series of photographs from its Whiteman Base in Missouri on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS). The photos depicted a dummy B61-12 Joint Test Assembly (JTA) being prepared to be loaded inside a B-2A Spirit stealth bomber’s pylon.

The Air Force was likely testing the racks, ensuring the mock bomb could fit securely and function properly if needed. The B-2A and B61-12 JTA represent one of the three legs of the U.S. nuclear triad; which serves as the backbone of America’s national security platform. The Air Force’s strategic bombers perform the air-based nuclear needs of the nation along with its Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM), which perform the land-based functions.

A Major Milestone
The Pentagon’s Inspector General Office said that it would investigate the Air Force’s aircraft approval process for carrying the new B61-12 JTA nuclear bomb.

In June 2020, the Air Force approved the F-15E Strike Eagle multirole jet to deliver the B61-12 bomb, making the airframe the first fighter to become certified to do so.

The B61-12 weapon is the latest variation in an ongoing modernization program for the B61 nuclear gravity bomb. The original prototype was designed and constructed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico in the mid-1960’s. Over the last five decades, the weapon has undergone 15 variations, although several of the variants had been canceled.

The latest B61-12 variation features specialized modifications that set it apart from its predecessors. Two of the bomb’s enhancements include an earth penetration capability in addition to guidance through a new guided tail kit assembly, which improves the precision of the weapon.

In addition to its superior attributes, a main priority for the latest B61 variant is its ability to be “air-delivered on both current and future platforms to meet Department of Defense requirements,” according to an NNSA Administrator.

The U.S. is one step closer to possessing fighter jets that can carry the B61-12 JTA bomb. However, the Pentagon began a probe last month that will ascertain whether the Air Force fully complied with federal requirements when the fighters were initially certified in 2020 and 2021.

While the B61-12’s upgrades are impressive, its premiere function will always be deterrence. Hopefully this weapon will never need to be utilized in the future.