F-35 Lightning II completes month-long weapons firing tests


Lockheed Martin has announced that the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter has recently completed a series of weapons tests at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Conducted by the F-35 Integrated Test Force (ITF), the month-long weapons firing test included 12 weapons delivery accuracy (WDA) and 13 weapon separation tests.

These tests were performed using the F-35’s newest block 3F software to demonstrate accuracy of the fighter jet.

The tests involved the dropping or firing of 30 weapons, including the Joint Direct Attack Munition, AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, GPS-guided 250-pound Small Diameter Bomb and AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air heat-seeking missile.

F-35 Programme executive officer lieutenant general Chris Bogdan said: “The WDAs rely on the full capability of the F-35, multiple sensors, navigation, weapons envelope, mission planning, data links and inter-agency range scheduling, all working in sequence to put steel on target.

“This was a tremendous effort by the F-35 test team.

"They surged and worked seven days a week for more than a month to expend 30 ordnance and advance weapons testing.

"This testing has moved us that much closer to delivering the full F-35 capability to warfighters within the next two years."

"This testing has moved us that much closer to delivering the full F-35 capability to warfighters within the next two years.”

The F-35 weapons test team was given exclusive access to the Sea Test Range, an instrumented Pacific Ocean test area off the central coast near Point Mugu Naval Air Station, California.

Tests were also conducted at the US Navy’s China Lake Weapons Range, California, and the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.


Image: F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter fired or dropped 30 weapons during recent tests. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.