Is The F-35 Becoming A Nuclear Bomber?
YouTube / US Military News
Advanced, stealthy, and multi-faceted, there’s nothing the F-35 Lightning II can’t do.
Which brings us to the question – is the F-35 Lightning II being developed to be a nuclear bomber?
Tactical Nuclear Weapon
The F-35A operated by the US Air Force can conduct both air and ground attacks. Additionally, it can also serve as a tactical nuclear bomber.
In fact, American deterrence efforts came one step closer to a critical new level when the Air Force proved that the F-35A stealth fighter could deliver a tactical nuclear weapon inside hostile territory.
B61-12 Joint Assemblies
In 2021, two F-35A released two B61-12 Joint Assemblies composed of functional, non-nuclear components and simulated nuclear components.
From an altitude of 10,500 ft, it took approximately 42 seconds for the bomb to reach the designated target on the range. The tests mimic a real-world tactical gravity nuclear weapon released at a test range in Nevada. The test is significant since the F-35A is expected to carry the B61-12 internally.
A Tactical Nuke
The B61-12 can offer four blast options measuring from 0.3 to 50 kilotons, more than double the estimated yield of Fat Man, the larger of the two nuclear bombs the US dropped on Japan in 1945.
The US announced plans to produce 40 B61-12s from 2022 to 2025, and experts now estimate that the US now owns 680 B-61s in total.
The F-35 as a Bomb Truck
The F-35 is developed to elude and destroy enemy defenses, uses cutting-edge stealth technology in fighting advanced enemies, and draws upon long-range sensors to find faraway enemy targets.
It’s also built as a multi-role stealth fighter- meaning it’s specifically tailored to launch massive air attacks on air-to-air and air-to-ground targets.
The jet is planned to be a cornerstone of NATO and US Allied Air Power and is expected to operate until 2070.