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    U.S. Nuclear Forces: News and Discussion


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    Post  Backman Thu May 06, 2021 4:54 am

    Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Test Aborted Due To Undisclosed Issue

    he U.S. Air Force’s latest Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test ended in failure after a “ground abort” prior to launch. While the cause is under investigation, the news comes at a time when a debate is raging in Congress and elsewhere about whether to proceed with developing a replacement for the missile, which has been in use since the early 1970s.

    The unarmed LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was due to be test-launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on May 5, between 12:15 AM and 6:15 AM Pacific Time. Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) has confirmed that it’s “assessing the potential to reschedule the launch.” No comment has yet been made about the nature of the “ground abort,” and we can’t really even say it was a malfunction at this time. It could have been a technical failure of the missile or its launch system, or it could have involved a tracking system loss, a broken communications link, or even a range “fouler,” when an unauthorized asset strays into the missile’s planned path, for all we know.

    Test launches of the Minuteman III are a fundamental part of evaluating the ICBM and gathering data to keep the system effective, including validating its readiness and accuracy. Furthermore, aborted tests and outright failures are also not unheard of, with the last mishap coming in 2018, again out of Vandenburg, when an unarmed Minuteman III suffered a failure over the Pacific. In that instance, Air Force personnel utilized the weapon’s self-destruct feature to safely destroy it in flight.

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    Post  George1 Sat Oct 09, 2021 11:32 am

    The B61 is a series of thermonuclear bombs, the first of which appeared in the 1960s, initially only free-fall. The latest modification B61 Mod.12 is the most recent version developed under the Life Extension Program for the entire range.

    The four previous modifications Mod. 3, 4, 7 and 10 are subject to conversion to version B61-12.

    According to the National Nuclear Safety Administration of the US Department of Energy, the B61-12 weighs 374 kg and is 3.6 meters long. According to various sources, including the Federation of American Scientists, the power of the explosion can be selected, and it is 0.3, 1.5, 10 and 50 kilotons.

    In addition, the bombs will now be correctable. The hitting accuracy is improved by the installation of new TKA (Tail Kit Assembly) tail kits. The contract with Boeing for the development of the TKA worth 178 million dollars was signed in 2012.

    During operational tests, seven B61-12 JTA bombs under the auspices of the United States Air Force and nine bombs under the auspices of the Department of Energy were dropped from F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft.

    In June 2020, colleagues from the bmpd blog already reported that it was the F-15E that became the first type of aircraft in the US Air Force to be certified for use by the B61-12 fighter-bomber.

    Tests of the B61-12 JTA on the B-2A Spirit strategic bomber were completed by the Air Force in November 2019, and the Ministry of Energy has serialized this type of aircraft in July 2020.

    The DOT & E Operational Test and Evaluation Organization of the US Department of Defense published an assessment report on this matter at the end of 2020. In the open version of the report, it is reported that during the tests, the B61-12 with TKA confirmed their reliability and proved high accuracy of hitting the target.

    Thus, in the near future, the third type of aircraft will be certified for the use of B51-12. Initially, the B-2A, B-21, F-15E, F-35, F-16C/D, F-16MLU and PA-200 Tornado were planned for this. The last three of them are for NATO allies, who, due to the lack of a digital interface for the old machines for transmitting data to the bomb control system, could use the B61-12 only in a free-fall version, with locked tail rudders. However, the need for this has practically disappeared. Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands will use their new F-35A as carriers of the B61-12. With Germany it is not clear yet. Perhaps due to the termination of operation of the Tornado and after the refusal to purchase the F-35 for them, it will be necessary to certify the Eurofighter. But we'll talk about this some other time.

    As for the F-35A, in connection with the completion of the B61-12 tests, the ACC combat air command indicates that not all aircraft of this type will carry nuclear weapons. However, so far nothing concrete has been said about when, where and how much.

    Production of the B61-12 is slated to expand during the next fiscal year, which begins on April 1, 2022 in the United States.

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    Post  Arrow Thu Jul 07, 2022 7:30 pm

    After such a long break in design, ICBMs may have serious problems with the new ICBM.

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