Eglin Air Force Base, Florida —
A B-2A Spirit stealth bomber releases a B61-12 joint test assembly utilizing a new capability known as the Radar-Assisted Targeting System during a wrap-up test at Tonopah Test Range, June 14, 2022 .
Tested only on the B-2, RATS improves the accuracy of weapon guidance in an environment degraded by the Global Positioning System.
“We have flown several sorties to test the new RATS capability over the past nine months and collected test points on its performance,” said Capt. David Durham, B-2 Weapons Flight Commander, 72 Test Squadron and devaluation. “Using RATS for the JTA version demonstrated what the new capability brings to the fighter. This test was also the first production unit version of the B61-12 JTA.
A software tool designed in-house by the 72d TES was also flight tested. 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 released.
“This tool has opened the door to rapid and innovative software development in support of the B-2,” said Master Sergeant Matthew Gibson, lead analysis software developer for the 72d TES. “Due to the success of this product, we have received requests to build tools for other in-flight capabilities of the 509th Bomb Wing and 325th Weapons Squadron.
Future B61-12 JTA versions will be flown during the annual Weapons Systems Evaluation Program flight tests as part of the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration and Department of defense.
“Modernization is at the forefront of our concerns as we plan and execute each of these tests,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Young, 72d TES commander. “Developing this tactic and creating the innovative software tool is a testament to the dedication and ingenuity of this team. They focus on gearing up the fighter for today’s fight.
The test event was conducted by a collaborative effort between the 72d TES, 509th BW, Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Boeing Company and Sandia National Labs.
For more information, contact 1st Lt Lindsey Heflin, Public Affairs Advisor for 53 Wing at 850-598-3283 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 53rd Wing delivers tactical advantage to the warfighter at the speed of relevance. By testing new operational capabilities and evaluating capabilities in the field, the 53rd Wing is accelerating the future while meeting warfighter demands for integrated, multi-domain capabilities.