B61-12 Video

Here’s some B-roll of the loading, launch, and drop of a GPS guided dial a yield B61 bomb. The enhanced accuracy of the B61-12 means a smaller yield is needed to destroy a given point target.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBm74WiCL1g]

I’m curious what that effect was just after release. It looked like some type of pyro effect. Any thoughts?

10 thoughts on “B61-12 Video”

  1. IIRC, the flash was the firing of small rocket motors on the weapon to induce spin and correct ballistic trajectory.

  2. Be worried about the pyro effect at impact…
    I’d like to see that F15 in desert scheme with some blue six-pointed stars on it.

  3. The B61 must spin during flight — spin that is controlled by a combination of rocket motors and canted fins on the tail. Engineers determined from flight tests in the 1990s that plumes from the rocket motors worked against the fin performance, counteracting the torque from the motors and reducing the vehicle spin rate. Sandia engineers termed that phenomenon “counter torque.”

    But data from a 2002 wind tunnel test to characterize counter torque were not fully applicable since the B61-12 uses a significantly different tail design than earlier versions. Engineers needed another series of wind tunnel tests to characterize counter torque on the new configuration to give them confidence the new system will meet the required spin environment in flight, said Vicki Ragsdale, a B61-12 technical basis test engineer at Sandia.

    When the data began rolling up on computer screens in the wind tunnel control room during February’s test, Sandia researchers were on hand to analyze the information immediately. They crunched numbers and debated physics for several days, and determined that the test had uncovered a previously uncharacterized physical phenomenon. Sandia researchers believe this arises uniquely because of the unusual shape of the rocket motors and from other features. The theory they had been using was based on a simpler configuration.


    1. Aerodynamics is usually pretty open stuff. You’ll notice not a lot of discussion of how the dial a yield works. That’s the part Sandia and others gets fussy about.

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