A fifth-generation f-35A fighter jet test-dropped a B61-12 nuclear bomb at supersonic speed. The product did not have a warhead.
The United States is steadily increasing the combat potential of its newest fifth-generation fighter, the F-35A. As it became known, the Sandia national laboratories, together with the Los Alamos national laboratory and the US air force, completed a series of flight tests as part of the integration of the new B61-12 nuclear bomb into the fighter's Arsenal.
The aircraft, in particular, dropped ammunition at supersonic speed. According to a press release from the Sandia national laboratories, the tests were conducted on the territory of the Tonopah test site on August 25 this year.
Reset The B61-12 / ©Sandia National Laboratories
The F-35A dropped a test version of the B61-12 from an altitude of 10,500 feet (more than 3,000 meters). The bomb took about 42 seconds to make a conditional defeat of the designated target. The B61 had no warhead.
It is known that the United States conducted other B61-12 drops from the F-35, in particular in 2019. Later [...], photos of these tests were presented.
F-35A drops B61-12
Image source: theaviationist
Recall that an important event recently occurred in the B61-12 bomb development program: The United States has completed tests for the compatibility of the ammunition and the F-15E fighter. As part of the final tests, the winged vehicle dropped a mock-up of a new version of the bomb: tests showed that the aircraft can use these products in real combat.
Previously, serial production of the B61-12 was planned to start this year, but the plans were hindered by design defects in the product.
Image source: USAF
The de facto F-35 was the first stealth fighter capable of using the B61-12. In addition to it and the F-15, other aircraft will be able to use the bomb: in particular, the promising b-21 strategic bomber that is being created now.
The latter, according to previously received information, should take to the sky in 2022. Previously, the date of the first flight was called 2021, but these dates, in all likelihood, did not work out.
We also note that the development of promising low-profile bombers is now actively conducted in Russia and China. Their vehicles may make their first flight around the mid-2020s.