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F-35 bombers to get B61 Mod 12 nuclear weapon

Terrifying new nuclear threat is here, Fox news    By Kris Osborn | Warrior Maven 24 May 18

The Air Force is integrating the B61 Mod 12 nuclear weapon into the F-35 this year as part of a long-range plan to deploy a nuclear-armed, dual-capable F-35 able to give commanders a wider envelope of precision nuclear attack options.

“Detailed risk reduction activities have been completed ensuring the F-35A is fully compatible with the B61-12 weapon. Planning for Block 4 nuclear certification efforts have begun in anticipation of initial B61-12 integration on the F-35A this year,” Maj. Emily Grabowski, Air Force Spokeswoman, told Warrior Maven.

The Block 4 F-35, to fully emerge in the next decade, contains more than 50 technical adjustments to the aircraft designed as software and hardware builds — to be added in six-month increments between April 2019 to October 2024, she added.

The latest version of the B61 thermonuclear gravity bomb, which has origins as far back as the 1960s, is engineered as a low-to-medium yield strategic and tactical nuclear weapon, according to nuclearweaponsarchive.org, which also states the weapon has a “two-stage” radiation implosion design.

The most current Mod 12 version has demonstrated a bunker-buster earth-penetrating capability, according to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).

“B61-12 is designed to have four selectable explosive yields: 0.3 kilotons (kt), 1.5 kt, 10 kt and 50 kt,” FAS writes.

Utilizing speed, maneuverability and lower-altitude flight when compared to how a bomber such as a B-2 would operate, a nuclear-capable F-35 presents new threats to a potential adversary. In a tactical sense, it seems that a high-speed F-35, fortified by long-range sensors and targeting technologies, might be well positioned to identify and destroy mobile weapons launchers or other vital, yet slightly smaller on-the-move targets. ………..

Also, without providing any detail, Grabowski did add that the Air Force is working closely with industry weapons developers to actively build new weapons specifically for the F-35.

“As we gain increasing experience with the aircraft and these new weapons mature, the program will follow the requirements for incorporating future weapons,” she told Warrior. http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2018/05/24/terrifying-new-nuclear-threat-is-here.html

 

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May 25, 2018 - Posted by | USA, weapons and war

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