US conducts tests for upgraded nuclear bomb

US conducts tests for upgraded nuclear bomb
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Scientists say they have successfully carried out an initial test flight for an improved version of a nuclear bomb that has been in the U.S. arsenal for decades, The Associated Press reported Saturday.

Sandia National Laboratories conducted a test last month to assess the non-nuclear capabilities of the B61-12, the report said. As part of the test, an F-16 dropped an inert version of the weapon over a Nevada desert.

"It's great to see things all come together: the weapon design, the test preparation, the aircraft, the range and the people who made it happen," said Anna Schauer, the director of the lab’s Stockpile Resource Center.

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Work on the B61-12 has been going on for years, the AP noted, while government officials characterized the latest tests with mock versions of the bomb as vital to refurbishing efforts.

Scientists will conduct additional test flights, and the first batch of the weapon is expected to be finished by 2020, according to the AP.