An improved version of a nuclear bomb, known as the B61-12, has passed its first test flight, according to scientists at Sandia National Laboratories.
The bomb has been in the U.S. arsenal for decades, but testing last month was done to assess the non-nuclear capabilities of the B61-12, according to reports on Saturday. An inert version of the weapon was dropped via an F-16 over the desert in Nevada.
“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.
Government officials have said that they’ve been testing mock versions of the B61-12 for years, but this was its first test flight. More test flights will follow, and the bomb could be operational by 2020.
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