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11:42 AM, July 10, 2015
USAF Tests Guided Nuclear Bomb Launch
B61 Silver Bullet atomic Bombs

The US Air Force and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) have conducted the first flight test of the B61-12 guided nuclear bomb launched from a Boeing F-15E.

The NNSA announced yesterday that the nuclear weapon couples a refurbished B61 nuclear bomb with a tail kit assembly produced by Boeing. The official photograph released by the NNSA shows a small object flying below the F-15E Strike eagle.

 The weapon system will in the armory of US and NATO forces once it enters service in the early 2020s by consolidates the four existing variants (B61-3, -4, -7, and -10), with the exception of the B61-11 earth-penetrating weapon.

The 1 July developmental flight test is the first of three to be completed this calendar year. The weapon was inert, and it is unlikely that one will ever be tested live due to the restrictions of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

The bomb will eventually be integrated with the F-35A Block 4 Joint Strike Fighter, F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-2A Spirit and PA-200 Tornado. Its introduction will not only consolidate the ageing nuclear stockpile, but inform a decision on whether to phase out the last US megaton-class nuclear bomb, the B83.



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