U.S. scientists in New Mexico at the Sandia National Laboratories announced Saturday that they conducted successful test flights related to an upgraded version of a nuclear bomb.
According to the Associated Press, the weapon has been part of the American arsenal for decades.
Scientists have been working on the B61-12 for a number of years, and government officials tell the AP U.S. tests that utilize mock versions of the actual bomb are necessary for upgrading efforts.
An F-16 from Nellis Air Force Base dropped the inactive form of the bomb over the Nevada desert last March to test the weapon’s non-nuclear capabilities as well as the plane’s ability to carry the weapon. That particular mock bomb landed in a dry lake bed at the Tonopah Test Range.
“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,” Anna Schauer, director of Sandia’s Stockpile Resource Center, said in a statement.
The announcement comes in the wake of a failed nuclear missile test launch in North Korea on Sunday. Vice President Mike Pence warned the communist dictatorship during his visit to a U.S. military base in the Demilitarized Zone Sunday not to test the resolve of the U.S. “or the strength of our military forces.”