The United States on Tuesday said it “successfully” carried out an early performance analysis of a revamped nuclear gravity bomb.
The “full-system mechanical environment test” was the first in a line of assessments intended to verify how the B-61 bomb’s new “Mod 12” variant would behave under routine conditions or accident scenarios, the National Nuclear Security Administration said in a statement. The review included use of an Air Force-developed ”tail kit” intended to improve targeting accuracy for the updated bomb, which is to eventually stand in for several earlier versions.
The analysis by the Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories “is a significant achievement and gives us confidence in our ability to move forward with our efforts to increase the safety and security of the bomb,” Don Cook, NNSA deputy administrator for defense programs, said in provided comments.
Engineering preparations for the Mod 12 update are now in their second year. The life-extension project aims to keep B-61 bombs ready for potential use, to service various atomic and non-nuclear parts of the Cold War-era weapons, and to bolster their dependability and security, the NNSA says.
The initial test “provides data for analytical model correlation and validation, insight into component environments and evaluation of developmental hardware,” the agency release states. “The mechanical environment test series will assist in qualifying the final B-61”12 design against the full suite of environments.”
Deployment of the Mod 12 weapon would enable the United States to mothball the larger and more powerful B-83 bomb “in the mid-to-late 2020s,” the NNSA statement adds.
What We're Following See More »
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal to the "federal disclosure rules for political advertising," leaving in place the ruling by a lower court upholding a law requiring the disclosure of donors to political ads. The appeal came from "a Denver-based libertarian think tank that wanted to run an ad without being forced to divulge its major donors," which argued that the requirement was a violation of first amendment rights under the Court's Citizens United decision.
"The Trump administration is proposing a budget it says will increase defense spending by $54 billion and cut non-defense spending by the same amount. The White House is sending a topline budget proposal reflecting those figures to federal agencies on Monday afternoon, according to an Office of Management and Budget official." An unnamed OMB official said most federal agencies would face cutbacks.
Donald Trump announced in a tweet on Saturday that he would not attend the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in April. The move did not come as a surprise, another moment in his ongoing battle with the media, which he has dubbed the "enemy" of the American people and repeatedly refers to as "fake news." Multiple outlets have already cancelled their events surrounding the dinner and several are considering skipping the event outright.
Phillip Bilden, Donald Trump's nominee for Navy secretary, has decided to withdraw his nomination after he was unable to sufficiently untangle his financial commitments. Bilden follows Vincent Viola, who withdrew his nomination for Army secretary.