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NNSA Performs Successful B83 JTA Flight Test

August 12, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), in collaboration with the U.S. Air Force, recently conducted a successful flight test using a Joint Test Assembly (JTA) of the B83 Modern Strategic Bomb.

“JTA tests are an integral part in ensuring that all weapon systems perform as planned and designed and that our stockpile remains safe, secure and effective,” said Brig. Gen. Garrett Harencak, NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application. “The strong working relationship between NNSA and Department of Defense is vital to our national security and we are committed at strengthening the relationship between the two entities.”

A JTA contains sensors and instrumentation that monitor weapon hardware performance during flight tests to ensure that the weapon functions as designed. The JTA contained no special nuclear materials and was not capable of nuclear yield.

The JTA was produced by the NNSA in support of the Joint Flight Test Program between the Department of Defense and the NNSA. It was built to simulate the actual weapon configuration and use as much war reserve hardware as feasible. The test units are assembled at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas.

A telemetry unit within the unit is used to acquire data on bomb performance. The results are fed into a reliability model developed by Sandia National Laboratories to evaluate the weapon reliability.

The B83 JTA was delivered by a B-2A Spirit aircraft of the 509th Bomber Wing operating out of Whiteman Air Force Base. The test was conducted at the NNSA’s Tonopah Test Range (TTR).

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.