The U.S. Air Force approved the production of a new guided tail-kit assembly for the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb. The service branch said Friday, its Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center will conclude the TKA's manufacturing development phase and proceed with production under the Milestone C transition. AFNWC developed the TKA and will perform integration with the bomb built by the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.
The production phase will involve the use of testing environments that more closely resemble real-life scenarios. The bomb underwent an 11-month test period that was supposedly 27 months long, and achieved 100 percent passing rate for all 31 drop trials. The shortened timeline, combined with other risk management efforts, generated $280M in savings from development costs.