F15 Strike Eagle Can Use the Oldest Nuclear Gravity Bomb in US Arsenal

The US has refurbished the oldest nuclear bomb,B61-12, so it is compatibility with the U.S. Air Force’s F-15E Strike Eagle jet fighter. The successful full-weapon system demonstration of the bomb’s compatibility.

The compatibility testing is an essential part of the B61-12 Life Extension Program to refurbish, reuse or replace all components and extend the bomb’s service life by at least 20 years and improve its safety, security and effectiveness.

The bomb, estimated at 12-feet long and weighing about 825 pounds, is being designed to be air delivered in either ballistic or guided-gravity drop modes. Along with the F-15E, the B61-12 will be certified for the Air Force’s B-2 strategic bomber, the dual capable F-16C/D fighter and, in the future, the fifth-generation F-35 fighter, as well as allies’ aircraft.

The first B61 entered service 50 years ago, and over the decades numerous modifications have been made to increase safety and reliability. The B61-12 consolidates and replaces most of the previous variants. The National Nuclear Security Administration recently announced plans to manufacture the first refurbished B61-12 in fiscal year 2022.

SOURCES- Sandia
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

8 thoughts on “F15 Strike Eagle Can Use the Oldest Nuclear Gravity Bomb in US Arsenal”

  1. For the plane, no not impressive. For a fifty year old bomb design, well, yeah, pretty good that they can make it integrate with the F-15 systems. For perspective, the fighters in service when it was introduced were primarily the F-4 Phantom and the F-8 Crusader, which were designed in the early 1950’s.

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  2. the band plays on…

    It’s just a requalification run on the simplest and most common platform expect to use a gravity nuke. From a maintenance persepctive, consolidating the variants into a multimodal system and slapping on a tail kit somewhat depended on the lowest common standard for avionics controls, to allow weapon arming from the cockpit with the new arming modes and information for the tail kit to function. Once that low bar was cleared, they could finalzie and consolidate the nukes. There isn’t much of a direct need for fighter nukes, but they need to do that for NATO (remember the nukes in the special arming bunkers for NATO fighter forces, such as the one in Turkey…) as they are under some obligations. Cut that obligation out, and they probably would have wanted to limit it down to B-21/B-2 and maaaaybe B-1/B-52.

    We haven’t gotten back to the bad old days of using an external windup key on the bomb to arm it and let some young hotshot ride into the sunset. Yet.

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  3. The only thing original to the F-15 is the profile of the sheet metal. All the goodies under the skin are state of the art as developed for Qatar under a joint agreement. This will also be filtered down to U.S. forces operations.

    The renewed Eagle will coordinate operation with F-35 systems and other assets to gain entry to heavily defended areas. It is able to carry four times the munitions weight of an aircraft dependent on stealth ability.

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  4. While the F-15 was an amazing aircraft in its prime and still is an amazing plane to this day, I’m not sure the dropping of gravity bombs, nuclear or conventional, is all that impressive for an aircraft of the F-15’s capabilities.

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