The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), under the Department of Energy (DoE), partnered with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to test the weapon systems of a B61-12 modified for extended service life. Two flight tests for the B61-12 Life Extension Program took place in March 2020 at the Nevada-based Tonopah Test Range, the Department of Energy said Monday.
USAF and the NNSA demonstrated the aircraft's compatibility with the F-15E during the final weapon system demonstration. The modified B61-12 features a new Boeing-made tail kit assembly. The Air Force plans to replace aging B61 bombers with the new extended-life variant for part of the U.S. nuclear force.
“The success of these tests is a major milestone on the path to full rate production and the B61-12’s initial operation capability on the F-15E in the coming years,” said Brig. Gen. Ty Neuman, principal assistant deputy administrator for military application at the NNSA.