WASHINGTON, D.C., 5 April 2011. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), in collaboration with the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command, conducted a surveillance flight test using a Joint Test Assembly (JTA) of the B61 Mod 11 (B61-11) Strategic Bomb.
“JTA tests demonstrate NNSA’s commitment to ensuring that all weapon systems perform as planned and that systems are designed to be safe, secure and effective,” explains NNSA’s Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Don Cook. “The strong partnership between NNSA and Department of Defense is vital to our national security and helps enhance the way NNSA does business and manages its resources.”
The JTA’s instrumentation and sensors monitor the performance of various weapon components during the flight test to determine whether the weapon functions as it is designed. This JTA also included a flight recorder, which stored bomb performance data for the entire test. The data is used in a reliability model, developed by Sandia National Laboratories, to evaluate the reliability of the bomb.
The JTA was produced by the NNSA in support of the Joint Surveillance Flight Test Program between the Department of Defense and the NNSA, and was built to simulate the actual B61-11 weapon configuration using as much war-reserve hardware as feasible. It was assembled at the Pantex plant in Amarillo, Texas, and was not capable of nuclear yield, containing no special nuclear materials.
A B-2A Spirit Stealth Bomber from the 509th Bomber Wing, operating out of Whiteman Air Force Base, delivered and released the B61-11 JTA at the NNSA’s Tonopah Test Range in Nevada.