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U.S. Vets Mock Nuclear Bombs

The United States has conducted Joint Test Assembly flight tests for the B-61 Mod 7, B-61 Mod 11 and B-83 nuclear gravity bombs, the National Nuclear Security Administration announced on Thursday.

A B-2A bomber from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri dropped each of the assemblies -- non-nuclear devices incorporating many systems of the weapons after which they are modeled -- on the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada.

Joint Test Assemblies are equipped with various data gathering and delivery components. The technology incorporates a mechanism to record information for a weapon reliability analysis created at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico.

The National Nuclear Security Administration produced the mock weapons for the Joint Surveillance Flight Test Program, an effort the agency manages with the Defense Department. Test-assembly trials seek to replicate real warhead configurations and employ the maximum amount possible of actual components minus atomic substances. The mock bombs were built at the Pantex Plant in Texas.

“The recent JTA tests demonstrate NNSA’s commitment to ensuring that all weapon systems perform as planned and that systems are safe, secure and effective,” NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator Brig. Gen. Sandra Finan said in released remarks. “The strong partnership between NNSA and Department of Defense is a vital part of our commitment to national security.”

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