Nuclear Bomb Variant Completes Wind-Tunnel Test

A model of the forthcoming B-61-12 nuclear bomb awaits testing in a wind tunnel at the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee. The Energy Department on Monday announced that the "Mod 12" variant had successfully completed the full-scale wind test.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald
Add to Briefcase
Rachel Oswald
April 15, 2014, 10:54 a.m.

A pro­ject to re­vamp the U.S. B-61 nuc­le­ar bomb achieved a key mile­stone when one of its new vari­ants passed a first full-scale, wind-tun­nel test.

The U.S. Na­tion­al Nuc­le­ar Se­cur­ity Ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounced the com­pleted as­sess­ment in a Monday press re­lease, not­ing that the ac­com­plish­ment by its San­dia Na­tion­al Labor­at­or­ies brings the so-called “B-61-12” Life-Ex­ten­sion Pro­gram one step closer to planned “drop tests” next year.

The eight-day as­sess­ment took place in a tran­son­ic wind tun­nel — which al­lows for the test­ing of aerospace products at ex­tremely fast speeds — at the Arnold En­gin­eer­ing De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter in Ten­ness­ee. The tri­al con­sisted of a num­ber of dif­fer­ent sim­u­lated flight en­vir­on­ments that ex­amined how well the B-61’s forth­com­ing “Mod 12” vari­ant handles “counter-torque,” a phe­nomen­on in which the plumes from rock­et mo­tors work against the per­form­ance of the tail fins, ac­cord­ing to San­dia.

“This wind tun­nel test helps to un­der­stand the B-61-12 flight char­ac­ter­ist­ics in pre­par­a­tion for our first three full-scale de­vel­op­ment drop tests,” agency Deputy Ad­min­is­trat­or for De­fense Pro­grams Don Cook said in provided com­ments.

Be­cause the Mod 12 vari­ant is equipped with a tail sec­tion that is not­ably dif­fer­ent than earli­er ver­sions of the B-61, a wind tun­nel test was ne­ces­sary to de­term­ine that the new com­pon­ent can per­form in the re­quired spin en­vir­on­ment dur­ing flight, said Vicki Rags­dale, a B-61-12 tech­nic­al basis test en­gin­eer at San­dia, in a sep­ar­ate Monday re­lease from the labor­at­ory.

The pro­ject to mod­ern­ize the B-61 in­volves the res­tor­a­tion of atom­ic and con­ven­tion­al parts and is aimed at ex­tend­ing the ser­vice life of the grav­ity bomb, which is cur­rently de­ployed in sup­port of NATO nuc­le­ar de­terrence in Europe. The Mod 12 vari­ant is in­ten­ded to sup­plant the cur­rent B-61-3, -4, -7, and -10 vari­ants, in ad­di­tion to sup­port­ing the planned moth­balling of the large B-63 nuc­le­ar war­head.

What We're Following See More »
RELIEVES MARK TONER
Former Fox Anchor Heather Nauert to Be State Dept. Spokeswoman
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS
NOT WORRIED ABOUT BUDGET NEUTRALITY
Trump Wants to Slash Corporate Rate to 15%
6 hours ago
THE LATEST
PROMISES “MASSIVE” CUTS
Trump Tax Reform Package Coming Next Week
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

President Trump today said he'll be releasing his tax reformpacakge next week around the 100-day mark of his presidency. He promised that "businesses and individuals will receive a 'massive tax cut ... bigger I believe than any tax cut ever."

Source:
ONLY BROAD PRINCIPLES
Mulvaney: Tax Reform Details Won’t Be Released This Week
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

Despite President Trump's announcement that his tax reform proposal would be released this week, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney now says it will be ready in June. This week's announcement will be limited to "specific governing principles."

Source:
OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS
Trump To Sign Order Calling For Expanded Drilling
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Donald Trump is expected Monday to sign an executive order which will mark his administration's first action on offshore oil and gas drilling. The order is expected to call for a "review of the locations available for offshore oil and gas exploration and of certain regulations governing offshore oil and gas exploration."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login