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The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced Monday that its Sandia National Laboratories successfully completed the first full-scale wind tunnel test of the B61‑12 as part of the NNSA’s ongoing effort to refurbish the B61 nuclear bomb. The purpose of this test was to characterize counter torque, the interaction between the spin rocket motor plumes and tail fins, across the B61-12 flight envelope.
“As long as the United States continues to have nuclear weapons, we must ensure that they remain safe, secure and effective without the use of underground testing,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Don Cook. “This wind tunnel test helps to understand the B61-12 flight characteristics in preparation for our first three full-scale development drop tests with the Air Force at the Tonapah Test Range in 2015.”
Sandia conducted the test in a transonic wind tunnel at Arnold Engineering Development Center in partnership with Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), and Boeing, St. Charles (Tailkit manufacturer). The test facility simulated numerous flight environments and the B61-12 spin rocket motors. Early review of the results suggests that the data from this test will allow for successful characterization of counter torque across the B61-12 flight envelope.