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FLIGHT TESTS TO SHOW B61-12 WILL WORK ON AIR FORCE'S F-35A
Monday, November 23, 2020
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An F-35A drops a B61-12 over Sandia's Tonopah Test Range

.Source: Sandia National Laboratories


An F-35A drops a B61-12 over Sandia's Tonopah Test Range

Source: Sandia National Laboratories


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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A mock B61-12’s strike in the dusty Nevada desert successfully completed the first in a series of flight tests with the U.S. Air Force’s newest fighter jet, demonstrating the bomb’s first release from an internal bomb bay at greater than the speed of sound.

An F-35A Lightning II opens its bomb bay doors and drops a mock B61-12 at Sandia National Laboratories’ Tonopah Test Range. Media can download test flight footage here. (Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories) Click the thumbnail for a larger image.

The flight test of the B61-12 with the F-35A Lightning II this summer was the first ever at Sandia National Laboratories’ Tonopah Test Range featuring the fighter jet. It was also the first of a testing series that will conclude with full-weapon systems demonstrations designed to increase confidence the bomb will always work when needed and never under any other circumstances.

"We’re showing the B61-12’s larger compatibility and broader versatility for the country’s nuclear deterrent, and we’re doing it in the world of COVID-19," said Steven Samuels, a manager with Sandia’s B61-12 Systems Team. "We’re not slowing down. We’re still moving forward with the B61-12 compatibility activities on different platforms."

In partnership with the National Nuclear Security Administration, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Air Force, Sandia completed a B61-12 full-weapon system demonstration with the F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet in March, and another in July with the Air Force’s B-2 Spirit bomber.

Sandia is the design and engineering lab for non-nuclear components of the nation’s nuclear stockpile, including the B61-12. In addition to non-nuclear component development, Sandia serves as the technical integrator for the complete weapon, assuring the system meets requirements as a full-weapon system.

Showing the bomb’s real-world capability

During the Aug. 25 flight test, an F-35A flying faster than the speed of sound dropped a B61-12 - containing non-nuclear and mock nuclear components - from about 10,500 feet above Tonopah Test Range. The inert B61-12 struck the desert floor in the designated target area about 42 seconds later.

"We successfully executed this historic, first-ever F-35A flight test at Tonopah Test Range within the specified delivery criteria," said Brian Adkins, range manager at TTR.

"The success of this test, as with all other weapons evaluations, is only possible through the detailed planning, combined with full collaboration between TTR and the program engineers, and the execution of the test evolution by the field operators and recovery specialists in the combined team of Sandia and TTR’s operations and maintenance subcontractor, Navarro Research and Engineering," he said. "With the multiple phases and operational activities a test involves, the team at TTR is diligent to integrate safety and security into all segments to ensure proper precautions are implemented for mission success."

Coordination between Sandia, Los Alamos, the NNSA and the Air Force made the flight test possible, and initial data shows that all systems and interfaces between the refurbished bomb and the F-35A worked as expected.

Unlike previous fighter jets, the F-35A carries the bomb internally. The recent flight test was the first demonstration of a fully instrumented B61-12 release from an internal bomb bay on a fighter and the first such release at speeds of Mach 1 or greater, Samuels said.

"This was the first test to exercise all systems, including mechanical, electrical, communication and release between the B61-12 and the F-35A," he said.

The test also came amidst now commonplace COVID-19 workplace restrictions, which can make planning more difficult but are not slowing down Sandia’s important mission work, said B61-12 program senior manager Christine Mitchell. "Sandia National Labs, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NNSA and our Air Force partners are working diligently to ensure F-35A major milestones stay on track, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19."

"The latest test is a critical piece in the F-35A and B61-12 program," Samuels said. "Aboard the newest fighter, the B61-12 provides a strong piece of the overall nuclear deterrence strategy for our country and our allies."

Sandia design and engineering is integral to B61-12 Life Extension Program

The compatibility testing is an essential part of the B61-12 Life Extension Program to refurbish, reuse or replace components, extend the bomb’s service life, and improve its safety, security and effectiveness.

A life extension program allows scientists and engineers to address the aging of nuclear weapons components. Some components are requalified and go back into a weapon without change; others that have aged are remanufactured using the original specifications; and sometimes the original technology is no longer available, so Sandia redesigns those parts using modern technology.

The first B61 entered service 50 years ago, and over the decades numerous modifications have been made to increase safety and reliability. The B61-12 consolidates and replaces most of the previous variants. The National Nuclear Security Administration recently announced plans to manufacture the first refurbished B61-12 in fiscal year 2022.

Source:  Sandia National Laboratories
Associated URL: Click here to visit

 
US B-52H TRAINS WITH COLOMBIAN AIR FORCE, ECUADORIAN NAVY
Monday, November 23, 2020
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.Source: Colombian Air Force


Source: Colombian Air Force


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BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Two U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress aircraft participated in "Brother’s Shield" a Colombian Air Force lead exercise and in "UNITAS LXI" an Ecuadorian Navy lead exercise in the U.S. Southern Command’s Area of Responsibility Nov 8, 2020.

This twofold mission began well before the B-52 crews took off that morning, there have been countless teleconferences and planning meetings to coordinate the combined training exercises between the U.S. Air Force our partner nation’s militaries.

Brother’s Shield was the first mission to be completed celebrating the Colombian Air Forces 101st anniversary. The B-52H crews supported the Colombian Air Force Kfir fighter aircraft pilots in air to air interception training while developing interoperability capabilities to increase hemispheric security and regional stability, under NATO standards between the U.S. and Colombia.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Angel Serna, 12th Air Force (Air Force Southern) Colombia desk officer, explained that the name of the exercise "Brother’s Shield" developed from the close relationship between the U.S. Air Force and the Colombian Air Force. During this training mission, the Colombian Kfirs flew in a formation with the U.S. Air Force B-52Hs to shield them from enemy combatants.

"Anytime we have the privilege to integrate with our allies in a fighter integration or naval exercise we are excited," said U.S. Air Force Capt Joshua Henry, 96th Bomb Squadron B-52H pilot and mission lead. "We identified a lot of similarities in the way that the Colombian’s conduct their intercept training and working with the UNITAS exercise proved to be very beneficial as well. Further developing our tactics, techniques and procedures with the navy is always beneficial for us as an air player since this is not something we have the opportunity to train on a consistent basis with real time naval assets."

UNITAS is an annual naval exercise conducted in the Atlantic and Pacific waters around Central and South America. The Ecuadorian Navy hosted this year’s exercise Nov 2-11, with participants from eleven countries. The B-52 crews integrated and trained with joint forces for UNITAS to include the Ecuadorian Navy to provide a simulated dynamic targeting capability for naval forces.

"I haven’t worked with the Colombian or Ecuadorian militaries before, but anytime that we as a community have an opportunity to work with partner nations we always learn a lot," Henry said. Colombia and Ecuador were very professional and a lot of our lessons learned were developed from the planning stages."

Source:  Air Force Global Strike Command
Associated URL: Click here to visit
Author: Tech. Sgt. Angela Ruiz 

 
BELL BOEING AWARDED $12M FOR JAPANESE V-22 AIRCRAFT MODIFICATIONS
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
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.Source: Boeing


Source: Boeing


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PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- Bell Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is awarded a $12,861,992 modification (P00004) to cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price order N00019-20-F-0315 against previously issued basic ordering agreement N00019-17-G-0002.

This modification exercises options to modify the V-22 aircraft to the government of Japan’s unique configuration requirements. Additionally, the modification exercises options for the production and delivery of nine traffic collision avoidance systems, technical support representation and preservation of aircraft post completion of unique modifications.

Work will be performed in Stennis, Mississippi (75%); Ridley Park, Pennsylvania (15%); Fort Worth, Texas (5%); and Tokyo, Japan (5%), and is expected to be completed in August 2024.

Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $12,861,992 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Source:  US Navy
Associated URL: navy.mil

 

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