Scientists say they have successfully carried out an initial test flight for an improved version of a nuclear bomb that has been in the U.S. arsenal for decades, The Associated Press reported Saturday.
Sandia National Laboratories conducted a test last month to assess the non-nuclear capabilities of the B61-12, the report said. As part of the test, an F-16 dropped an inert version of the weapon over a Nevada desert.
"It's great to see things all come together: the weapon design, the test preparation, the aircraft, the range and the people who made it happen," said Anna Schauer, the director of the lab’s Stockpile Resource Center.
"In a well-timed statement, just as tensions over North Korea's nuclear program and potential US airstrikes run wild, the NNSA said that in conjunction with the US Air Force, it had completed the first qualification flight test of B61-12 gravity nuclear bomb on March 14 at the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada."
In the press release, the NNSA said that the "non-nuclear assembly test" was dropped from an F-16 based at Nellis Air Force Base and was intended to evaluate "both the weapon’s non-nuclear functions as well as the aircraft’s capability to deliver the weapon."