The U.S. Department of Defense for first time publishes test footage of F-35A Lightning II fighters use of B61-12 aviation ammunition with a nuclear warhead.
Officially reported on the conduct of six tests in the period from spring 2019 to spring 2020.
By 2023, Lightnings are expected to be fully prepared for the use of air-based nuclear weapons.
Photos recently released by the Pentagon show the F-35A Lightning II stealth aircraft testing its ability to drop the B61-12 thermonuclear gravity bomb. The plane’s next phase of upgrades will enable it to deploy the variable-yield weapon.
In nearly a dozen photos published by the F-35 Joint Program Office earlier this month, the Pentagon’s newest stealth fighter can be seen testing its ability to deploy the latest iteration of the B61 nuclear bomb. The weapon, with a maximum explosive yield of 50 kilotons, is small enough to fit inside the F-35’s internal bomb bay.