B-2 executes new nuclear tactic in B61-12 JTA capstone test > Air Force Global Strike Command AFSTRAT-AIR > Article Display

B-2 executes new nuclear tactic in B61-12 JTA capstone test > Air Force Global Strike Command AFSTRAT-AIR > Article Display




A B-2A Spirit stealth bomber launched a B61-12 joint test set that used a new capability known as a radar-assisted guidance system during a final test at the Tonopah test field on June 14, 2022.


Tested only on the B-2, RATS improves weapon guidance accuracy in an environment degraded by the global positioning system.


“We have made several outings testing the new RATS capability over the past nine months and have collected test points on its performance,” said Captain David Durham, commander of the Flight Flight of the 72d Test and Evaluation Squadron. B-2. “The use of RATS for the JTA launch demonstrated what the new capability brings to the fighter. This test was also the first launch of the B61-12 JTA production unit.


A software tool designed in-house by the 72d TES was also tested in flight. Known as the RATS application tool, it provides pilots with an early indicator of RATS functionality, verifying that the system is working properly before the weapon is launched.


“This tool has opened the door to rapid and innovative software development in support of the B-2,” said Master Sergeant Matthew Gibson, lead developer of 72d TES analysis software. “Due to the success of this product, we have received requests to create tools for other in-flight capabilities of the 509th Bomb Wing and 325th Weapons Squadron.”


Future releases of B61-12 JTA will be made during the annual flight tests of the Weapons System Assessment Program as part of the surveillance tests of the Department of Energy / National Nuclear Safety Administration and the Department of Defense .


“Modernization is at the forefront of our minds as we plan and execute each of these tests,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Young, commander of the 72d TES. “The development of this tactic and the creation of the innovative software tool speak of the dedication and the ingenuity of this team. They are focused on equipping the fighter for today’s fight. “


The test event was led by a collaborative effort between the 72d TES, the 509th BW, Air Force Global Strike Command, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Boeing Company and Sandia National Laboratories.



For more information, contact 1st Lt Lindsey Heflin, 53rd Wing Public Affairs Advisor at 850-598-3283 or lindsey.heflin.1@us.af.mil.



The 53rd Wing provides tactical advantage to the fighter at the speed of relevance. By testing new operational capabilities and assessing field capabilities, the 53rd Wing is achieving the fastest future while responding to the fighter’s demands for integrated and multidomain capabilities.





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