Warheads on Target, For Now

Engineers recently completed a series of instrumented flight tests on the F-15E, F-16, and B-2 as part of the B61-12 nuclear freefall bomb’s ongoing life-extension program. The Air Force and National Nuclear Security Administration successfully finished “several experiments critical to the engineering and development phase of the B61-12 life extension program” in 2014 and are on track to deliver the first production example in 2020, NNSA Administrator Frank Klotz told AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies in Arlington, Va., on Monday. He warned, however, that NNSA’s Fiscal 2016 budget request exceeds sequestration spending levels in order to achieve key modernization aims, such as the B61 update and accelerated development of a new cruise missile warhead. “NNSA was directed to request the funds we need to accomplish the missions we’ve been tasked to do,” said Klotz. “If sequestration, in fact, does occur, as is currently legislated, we would not be able to do a great deal of the activities that we’re currently executing and planning to meet the nation’s strategic requirements,” he warned. (See also Fitting In.)