Watch This F-35 Drop a B61 Nuclear Bomb in 'Historic' First
Sandia National Laboratories, in collaboration with the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the U.S. Air Force, completed a successful round of flight tests aimed at integrating the new B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb onto the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter earlier this year.
Sandia has released footage of one of these tests, which involves the first-ever release of a dud version of the nuclear missile being launched from a plane flying faster than the speed of sound, The Drive reports.
See the B61-12's rocket spin stabilization in action
The new video gives viewers an unprecedented look at the B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb's rocket spin stabilization system.
A press release from Sandia says the supersonic test took place over the Tonopah Test Range on August 25. As per The Drive, the range is a secretive site in the Nevada desert that has been used for several nuclear weapons tests over the years.
In the video, the F-35A drops the test B61-12, which includes functional non-nuclear components and simulated nuclear components, from an altitude of 10,500 feet.
A 'historic' test flight
"We successfully executed this historic, first-ever F-35A flight test at Tonopah Test Range within the specified delivery criteria," Brian Adkins, the range manager at the facility, said in a statement.
"This was the first test to exercise all systems, including mechanical, electrical, communication and release between the B61-12 and the F-35A," Steven Samuels, a manager with Sandia’s B61-12 Systems Team, added. "The latest test is a critical piece in the F-35A and B61-12 program."
The bomb took approximately 42 seconds to hit its designated target on the Nevada range. This test was particularly significant as reports say the F-35A will carry the B61-12 internally, a first for combat jets flying at supersonic speeds.
Take a look at the video from Sandia National Laboratories below: