NNSA and the US Air Force Global Strike Command jointly conducted a flight testing program using two 700-pounds faux nuclear bombs viz. the B61-7 and B61-11.
These mock weapons are known as Joint Test Assemblies (JTA) and feature sensors and other instrumentation to aide scientists and engineers assess the performance of the flights.
Reports are that the B61 variants of the nuclear war weaponry have been in the U.S. arsenal since the 1960s. While one of them is shrewdly called the “earth penetrator” made to strike underground targets, the other variant is a tactical version of the same, reads an official announcement from NNSA.
“The primary objective of flight testing is to obtain reliability, accuracy, and performance data under operationally representative conditions,” said a spokesperson for the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Energy Department arm that monitors such tests. “Such testing is part of the qualification process of current alterations and life extension programs for weapon systems.”
Bizarre as it may sound, but experts seem to have a reason for this mock nuclear weaponry test that came out of the blue. Of late, tensions seem to have risen with Russia, which is another nuclear superpower, and Pentagon’s efforts to replace U.S.’s aging nuclear arsenal may be suggestive of the fact that the nation is warming up for a world war, opined Defense One.
The Russian government, on September, announced it would conduct a massive drill to prepare its citizens for nuclear war.
The U.S. is, in full-swing, making the necessary preparations, getting the U.S. Air Force to make new intercontinental ballistic missiles, which includes making a nuclear cruise missile as well.
“[We] are used to sustaining the [current] systems in pieces,” said Larry Shafer, a Boeing executive working on the company’s work to build a new ICBM to replace the Minuteman III. “This is a unique opportunity to build an ICBM system as a whole.”
Russian TV host Dimitri Kiselyov, in a recent TV broadcast, said that there had been a “radical change’ in the US-Russian relationship of late. Moreover, several Russian newspapers have been talking openly about the possibility of a US-Russia clash (possibly using nuclear war weaponry), as reported by BBC.
“There is a reason that Russia has deployed S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Syria,” Izvestia commented last week.
“Moscow is ready to use them. This won’t spark a world war. After all, we’ve shot down American planes before, in Vietnam and Korea [in Soviet times]. Vladimir Putin is making it clear that Russia will make no more concessions [in Syria].”
“This is the most dangerous situation since the Cold War,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of Russia in Global Affairs. “In the Cold War, confrontation was based on understanding of ‘red lines’. Today this is not the case.
“Most likely no-one wants to launch a big collision between Russia and the United States. But this is exactly the case when unintended consequences might emerge.”