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U.S. Air Force tests new nuclear gravity bomb with F-35A: Declassified footage



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The United States Air Force has successfully run a round of flight tests to deploy the new B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb with the high-tech F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, The Jerusalem Post‘s military reporter Anna Ahronheim reported on Tuesday. The test was conducted in collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories.

While the test occurred on August 25 at the Nevada Test and Training Range, the video of the test was just declassified on Monday. The video published by Sandia shows the stealth fighter dropping an inert version of the bomb from its internal bomb bay at about 10,500 feet, all while flying faster than the speed of sound. The device contained non-nuclear and mock nuclear components and hit the desert ground at the designated target area 42 seconds after release.

“We successfully executed this historic, first-ever F-35A flight test at Tonopah Test Range within the specified delivery criteria,” range manager Brian Adkins was quoted as saying in the JP report.

According to Ahronheim, the B61-12 is the latest variant of the B61 family of air-launched nuclear gravity bombs, which have been operational with the U.S. military since 1968.

The intention of this new version of the bomb is to improve the U.S. Air Force’s nuclear capabilities, Ahronheim wrote, and allied nations and can be launched by platforms such as the B-2A, F-15E, F-16C/D, F-16 MLU, PA-200, F-35 and B-21.

The 12-foot-long bomb, which weighs approximately 824 pounds, can fit inside the internal weapons bay of the platforms. This means that the F-35 would not sacrifice its stealth capabilities by carrying it, per the report.

The report also details that this version of the bomb, which carries a low-yield nuclear warhead, has four different yield options: 0.3 kilotons, 1.5 kilotons, 10 kilotons, and 50 kilotons.

The August test was part of a series of demonstrations testing the B61-12 full-weapons system on other aircraft such as the F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet in March and the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber in July, Ahronheim noted. The test with the F-35 was the first demonstration of the bomb from an internal bomb bay on a fighter jet and the first time the bomb was released at speeds of Mach 1 or greater.

“This was the first test to exercise all systems, including mechanical, electrical, communication and release between the B61-12 and the F-35A,” said Steven Samuels, a manager with Sandia’s B61-12 Systems Team in a statement. “We’re showing the B61-12’s larger compatibility and broader versatility for the country’s nuclear deterrence.”

The latest test “is a critical piece” of both the F-35A and B61-12 programs, according to Samuels.

“Aboard the newest fighter, the B61-12 provides a strong piece of the overall nuclear deterrence strategy for our country and our allies,” he said.

The F-35 will be able to carry the bomb internally and at supersonic speeds while in full stealth mode, Ahronheim added. This is unlike the F-15, which would carry the B61-12 externally and without stealth capability, and the B-2, which flies below the speed of sound.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Rupert Murdoch Steps Down as Chairman of Fox Corporation and News Corp



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Rupert Murdoch, the 92-year-old media tycoon, announced his decision to step down from his roles as Chairman of Fox Corporation and Executive Chairman of News Corp on Thursday. The transition is set to take effect in November, with his son, Lachlan Murdoch, assuming the position of sole chairman for both media conglomerates.

According to reports from Fox News, Murdoch addressed his colleagues in a letter, where he explained that his decision was prompted by a desire to embrace new roles while recognizing the capable leadership of his son, Lachlan. He stated, “For my entire professional life, I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change. But the time is right for me to take on different roles, knowing that we have truly talented teams and a passionate, principled leader in Lachlan who will become sole Chairman of both companies.”

Despite the transition, Rupert Murdoch made it clear that he would remain actively involved in the “contest of ideas,” highlighting the intensifying battle over freedom of speech and freedom of thought. He criticized elites and the media for prioritizing narratives over the pursuit of truth.

“In my new role, I can guarantee you that I will be involved every day in the contest of ideas,” he wrote.

Lachlan Murdoch issued a statement, congratulating his father for his remarkable 70-year career and acknowledging his enduring impact on the companies he founded. He expressed gratitude for Rupert Murdoch’s vision, pioneering spirit, and steadfast determination, assuring that he would continue to provide valuable counsel in his role as Chairman Emeritus.

Rupert Murdoch’s media empire includes FOX News Channel, which has been a dominant force in 24-hour news coverage since its launch in 1996. Under his leadership, it became one of the world’s most influential news sources. Additionally, Murdoch served as the CEO of 21st Century Fox from 1979 until 2015 and as its Chairman from 1991 to 2015.

Murdoch’s career began in 1954 when he assumed control of News Limited, a public corporation in Australia previously led by his father. He expanded his media holdings internationally, acquiring major UK publications like News of the World and The Sun in 1969, as well as U.S. newspapers including the New York Post and The Village Voice.

His impact extended to television with the launch of the FOX Broadcasting company in 1986 and the subsequent establishment of FOX Sports. In 2019, Fox Corporation emerged as a standalone, publicly traded entity following the separation of 21st Century Fox, redefining the U.S. media landscape.

Rupert Murdoch’s contributions to the media industry have earned him numerous accolades, including the Companion of the Order of Australia (A.C.) and induction into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. Alongside his family, he has supported various charitable organizations across the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Asia, and Israel.

The transition of leadership marks a significant moment in the media world, as Rupert Murdoch’s enduring legacy continues to influence the future of media and journalism.

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