WASHINGTON, (BM) – The US Air Force conducted an air test to launch a nuclear bomb without a warhead from a fifth-generation F-35 fighter at supersonic speed, learned BulgarianMilitary.com. According to information spread in a number of Western online publications, the test was performed at an altitude of 3,000 meters about 42 seconds of the nuclear missile to hit the target.
Read more: Top 5 best fifth generation fighter jets in the World
It is only at the end of the year that these tests are announced, which according to various sources took place in the middle of this year, around August 25 at the Tonopa test site. According to Sandia National Laboratories, one of the three research and development laboratories of the National Nuclear Security Administration in the United States, the fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter dropped the munition at supersonic speed. BulgarianMilitary.com reminds you that these are not the first such tests by the US Air Force, as the last ones were in 2019.
The American fighter used a B61-12 bomb for the test. Military analysts say the tested bomb is a new updated model of its latest version and is controllable due to the new shape of the bomb’s tail. This is the main reason why the bomb is not equipped with the standard parachutes for this model. The fact that the bomb was designed to be maneuverable makes it easier for American fighter pilots, as they previously had to avoid flying over a specific target, making them vulnerable to enemy missiles and air defense systems. Now, with the changed tail and bomb targeting function, this is not necessary.
B61-12 is a new development of American military engineering. The Pentagon had plans to start mass production of the bomb in 2020, but came to a series of defects that had to be eliminated. B61-12 turns out that it can be used by another American fighter – F-15E. The United States conducted a series of simulation tests using this fighter and came to a final assessment that it could easily be used to drop this type of bomb.
Currently, among a series of tests, the United States has two fighters that can also be used as bombers – F-35 and F-15. The process of building the US Air Force’s B-21 strategic bomber is still ongoing, so the possibility of using fighter jets for bombing is well received by Pentagon officials.
According to Pentagon sources, the B-21 bomber should be in the sky next year, but due to a number of unplanned circumstances, the first flight of the bomber is expected to take place in 2022.
US has tested the possibility of the F-15 Eagle to become a nuclear bomber
Tests for the ability to carry B61-12 nuclear bombs were passed by F-15E Strike Eagle all-weather multirole strike fighter, on June 8 the Sandia National Laboratory press service reported. Sandia laboratories conducted tests of strike fighters and bombs for them in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force. The bombs were tested at all stages of use. Laboratory spokesman Stephen Samuels notes that as a result of the tests there is “exceptional confidence” in the ability to use these bombs on F-15E fighter.
It is reported that the bomb tests passed in March. The plane rose to a height of 7.5 kilometers, from where bombs were dropped into the desert of Nevada. The tests were carried out without nuclear charges, instead of them dummies were used. As a result of successful tests, the use of B61-12 bombs, which, as noted, were developed half a century ago, will be extended for another 20 years.
BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that on June 1 the US Air Force experts conducted tests designed to demonstrate that military transport aircraft can be used as bombers. According to Flightglobal, during the tests, the military dropped a transport pallet from the aircraft with two models of cruise missiles. These checks were considered successful.
Read more: ‘Flying arsenal’: the USAF turned a transport aircraft into a deadly bomber
Over the past few years, the US Air Force has been considering the concept of a “flying arsenal.” It provides for the possibility of creating an aircraft capable of carrying a large number of missile and bomb weapons. One version of the concept suggests that missiles from such an aircraft will be launched on command from a fighter, on which, on the contrary, a possible minimum of weapons will be suspended.
Tests for dropping cruise missiles from a transport aircraft were carried out in January 2020 by specialists from the US Air Force Research Laboratory and the US Air Force Special Operations Forces, but the military only announced this now.
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