WASHINGTON – The US Air Force is moving to full certification of its F-35A stealth fighters for a nuclear strike. Yes, the summer tests of this fighter with a new B61-12 nuclear bomb have recently ended, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing a statement from the F-35 command. The tests with an inert nuclear bomb have become final at this stage.
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According to a statement from the F-35 Joint Office, “the most accurate non-nuclear models B61-12” took part in the latest tests, each of which fell from a different height and speed.
The actual parameters of the test launch have not been announced, but it is now known that in the past at least one F-35A dropped the B61-12 test bomb at supersonic speeds.
However, now the data collected during the last test, which took place in Tonop, will be evaluated by the US Department of Defense and the US Department of Energy to ensure that B61-12 and F-35A meet all requirements. and are fully compatible.
The US Air Force said the date for the F-35A’s full nuclear certification had not yet been set but noted that the integration process was set to “meet the schedule in the future”. Yes, it is now known that the first serial military B61-12 will receive no earlier than 2022.
The B61-12 nuclear bomb has been under development since at least 2011. Technically, it is an upgrade and merger of four existing options: B61-3, -4, -7, and -10. The new bomb has an updated tail, equipped with a package of precise guidelines of the inertial navigation system, which provides increased accuracy.
F-35 tactical fighter squadron in Europe
As we reported on October 4 the Pentagon has begun deploying Europe’s first squadron of fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fighters. It will be based in the UK at the Royal Air Force base in Lakenheath in the east of the country.
To this end, the 495th Tactical Fighter Squadron, part of the 48th Fighter Regiment of the United States Air Force, was activated. In total, the unit is to receive 27 F-35 units and will be on combat duty for the first time from 1991 to the end of this year.
At the same time, the Pentagon plans to further increase the number of F-35s at air bases in Europe. In particular, the number of these aircraft in Lakekenhit alone should be 48 units.
It should also be noted that the deployment of American F-35s in Europe is delayed: due to problems with Lockheed Martin with the production of fighters, the deadline was postponed by almost a year.
At the same time this summer, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Todd Walters, said that the number of F-35s in the Air Force of the Allies in Europe by 2030 should be 450 units.
Which bomber is a threat to Russia?
The new American strategic bomber B-21 Raider could cause great difficulties for Russian air defense systems, writes journalist Chris Osborne in an article for the National Interest.
According to the journalist, many characteristics of the aircraft may never be declassified. Nevertheless, one of the high-ranking representatives of the US Air Force said that the new stealth bomber would pose a threat to any target, anywhere in the world, regardless of the time of day. Osborne did not rule out that the B-21 will be tested on air defense systems similar to Russian and Chinese.
Osborne also recalled the S-400 and S-500 complexes, which, according to the developers, can detect and destroy “stealth aircraft”. While Russian air defense systems are effective, the task of locating and destroying the advanced B-21 will be daunting for them, he added. In his opinion, Moscow will need more sensitive radars that can accurately track the movements of the bomber. The presence of completely new stealth technologies in his possession could make the plane “the worst nightmare” for Russia, the journalist summed up.
The main non-nuclear weapons of the B-21 are expected to be hypersonic missiles, in particular the promising AGM-183A ARRW. According to the Lockheed Martin concern, these aircraft weapons are capable of accelerating M = 17 [Mach number]. The range is up to 800 kilometers. ARRW is slated for serial production and deployment on media in 2022. In this, Russia is still ahead of the United States, since its aviation hypersonic missiles are already in service with the Aerospace Forces.
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