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 »
The four Senators released a joint statement, saying in part, "There are provisions in this draft that repreesnt an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs."
"President Trump will meet with the International Olympic Committee Thursday amid a battle between Los Angeles and Paris for the right to host the 2024 games. The meeting at the White House will come roughly three months before members of the IOC vote on which of the two cities will welcome the Olympics during what could be the final year of Trump's presidency, should he win re-election. Trump has remained largely silent on whether he plans to fight for the U.S. to receive the games in 2024."
Trump tweeted Thursday afternoon, "With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings."
"The hacking of state and local election databases in 2016 was more extensive than previously reported, including at least one successful attempt to alter voter information, and the theft of thousands of voter records that contain private information like partial Social Security numbers. ... Congressional investigators are probing whether any of this stolen private information made its way to the Trump campaign. ... The House Intelligence Committee plans to seek testimony this summer from Brad Parscale, the digital director of the Trump campaign."