422nd F-16 drops B61-12 in Nellis test.

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neptune

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Unread post14 Apr 2017, 06:45

http://www.robins.af.mil/News/Article-D ... ight-test/

Inert nuclear gravity bomb passes first F-16 flight test

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- An Air Force F-16 aircraft released an inert B61 nuclear bomb in a test recently, demonstrating the aircraft's capability to deliver the weapon and testing the functioning of the weapon's non-nuclear components, including the arming and fire control system, radar altimeter, spin rocket motors and weapons control computer. The F-16 from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nevada, released the weapon over the Nellis Test and Training Range Complex in the first test use of the upgraded B61, known as the B61-12, with the F-16 aircraft. The test was conducted under a life-extension program for the B61, which is refurbishing both its nuclear and non-nuclear components to extend the bomb’s service life, while improving its safety, security and reliability. When completed, the new B61-12 version will replace four versions of the B61 bomb currently in the U.S. nuclear stockpile, streamlining production and logistics. The B61-12 life-extension program is managed by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center in conjunction with the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

“The B61-12 gravity bomb ensures the current capability for the air-delivered leg of the U.S. strategic nuclear triad well into the future for both bombers and dual-capable aircraft supporting NATO,” said Paul Waugh, AFNWC’s Air-Delivered Capabilities director. The B61-12 will be compatible with the B-2A, B-21, F-15E, F-16C/D, F-16 MLU, F-35 and PA-200 aircraft. The non-nuclear bomb assembly used for the flight test was designed and manufactured by Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory as federally funded research and development centers operating under NNSA. The tail-kit assembly mated to the NNSA front-end was designed by the Boeing Company under an AFNWC contract. About 200 personnel in AFNWC’s Air-Delivered Capabilities Directorate deliver, sustain and support air-delivered nuclear weapon systems. The directorate is headquartered at Kirtland AFB and oversees locations at Eglin AFB, Florida; Joint Base San Antonio, Texas; Ramstein AB, Germany; Robins AFB, Georgia; Tinker AFB, Oklahoma; and Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The center is responsible for synchronizing all aspects of nuclear material management on behalf of Air Force Materiel Command in direct support of Air Force Global Strike Command. Headquartered at Kirtland AFB, the center has about 1,900 personnel at 17 locations worldwide.
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wolfpak

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Unread post15 Apr 2017, 23:26

Wonder if the -12 will be limited to the one yield of 40Kt. by the new administration or will we see a return to the multi yield B61?
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Unread post16 Apr 2017, 00:40

The latest version B61-12 is a dial-a-yield weapon in the kiloton range.
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Unread post16 Apr 2017, 16:50

popcorn wrote:The latest version B61-12 is a dial-a-yield weapon in the kiloton range.

It is also interesting to note that the B61-12's guidance and ability to penetrate several meters under ground before detonating makes it stronger versus underground structures than the near ground level 400kt blast of previous versions.

So it seems they found a better trade off with the added components versus lower yield.
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Unread post16 Apr 2017, 23:12

More bang for the buck by increasing accuracy. Reduce the CEP by half and you require only 1/8 the yield to achieve the same destructive effect.
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Unread post05 May 2017, 04:10

I'm no nuclear scientist but two things about the "Dial-A-Yield" bombs always bothered me...

First, if you're going through the trouble to nuke someone, why would you ever want to make it smaller?

Second, what happens to all the un-burned nuclear fuel after you take a big bomb and dial it down to a smaller blast? I bet it doesn't wrap itself up in a nice little secure package all in one place...
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Unread post05 May 2017, 05:31

During the cold war, tactical nuclear weapons was developed, whos intention was to be used on the battlefield to take out an enemy force but without destroying the entire place.
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arian

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Unread post05 May 2017, 21:32

TreadHead wrote:I'm no nuclear scientist but two things about the "Dial-A-Yield" bombs always bothered me...

First, if you're going through the trouble to nuke someone, why would you ever want to make it smaller?

Second, what happens to all the un-burned nuclear fuel after you take a big bomb and dial it down to a smaller blast? I bet it doesn't wrap itself up in a nice little secure package all in one place...


Variable yield doesn't always mean unspent nuclear fuel. Some, for example, use gas or particle accelerators to increase the yield. In those cases there's no unspent fuel. Others use only the first stage fission bomb and not the second stage fusion bomb, but this is unlikely to be the case here given the variety of yields produced.

You may want variable yield because of the nature of the use of this weapon: penetrator. A nuclear device detonated at surface or slightly below surface produces a lot of fallout (as opposed to one detonated at altitude, which may produce no fallout at all). So a 100kt detonation just below the surface would be a) way over-kill for any bunker, and b) produce large amounts of fallout and wipe out whole cities potentially. A small 1kt or even sub-kt detonation would be sufficient to destroy any bunker with increased accuracy and penetration of the weapon, and produce a lot less fallout (if they dial-a-yield through certain means).

And if you encounter a bunker complex too big or too deep, then you dial it up. And you still retain the ability to use the bomb for all other uses as well.
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Unread post07 Jul 2017, 16:58

neptune wrote:spin rocket motors


Since B61-12 is GPS guided, why use spin stabilization and doesn't this make the fin controls more complex as they have to make hundreds of corrections per second?
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Unread post08 Jul 2017, 12:51

SpudmanWP wrote:
neptune wrote:spin rocket motors


Since B61-12 is GPS guided, why use spin stabilization and doesn't this make the fin controls more complex as they have to make hundreds of corrections per second?

I'm going to make a wild stab at this...

You need to create separation between the aircraft and the bomb. You could use a parachute (which would have to jettison at a specific time) or use rocket motors with a known impulse. The spin is to keep the bomb somewhat stable while it's slow, until there's enough speed to make the guidance controls effective. I'd imagine the spin gets canceled once the controls have enough effectiveness.

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