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US certifies B61-12 nuclear bomb for use with F-35A fighter

The US has recently certified the B61-12 thermonuclear gravity bomb for use with the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter. 

This certification, first reported by Breaking Defense citing a spokesperson for the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), is crucial to US allies participating in NATO nuclear sharing, which was established during the Cold War. Under this arrangement, participating NATO member states must maintain a combat aircraft that can operate the B61s stored on their soil, in order to respond quickly to any potential nuclear threat from Russia.

At present, a substantial number of US B61 nuclear gravity bombs are stored in various bases across Europe. These bases are located in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey. Interestingly, all of these countries, with the exception of Turkey, are set to operate the F-35A Lightning II.

Finland and Sweden, which joined the alliance in April 2023 and March 2024 respectively, are not ruling out the possibility of housing nuclear bombs as part of the NATO nuclear-sharing arrangement.

It is worth noting that the recent certification is specific to the F-35A variant and the B61-12 bomb. This certification does not extend to other F-35 variants, such as the F-35B and F-35C. Furthermore, there are no official plans to deploy the B61-12 to the NATO nuclear sharing members, who currently possess older variants of the B61 bomb.

The post US certifies B61-12 nuclear bomb for use with F-35A fighter appeared first on AeroTime.

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