USAF completes testing of Paveway IV bomb aboard F-35B Lightning II


The US Air Force's (USAF) 461st Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) has recently completed testing of Paveway IV precision-guided bomb aboard a US Marine Corps short takeoff / vertical landing variant of F-35B Lightning II.

Two weapon delivery accuracy tests with Paveway IV were conducted at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and over Edwards Air Force Base’s Precision Impact Range Area.

The first test was a laser-mode employment of the guided bomb against a tank on the ground and the second test included the bomb’s GPS/inertial navigation employment against a tank.

F-35 weapon integration engineer Collin O’Fallon said: “The two Paveway IV live-fires represent full end-to-end weapon-aircraft integration tests for these two significant use cases of this weapon's employment modes.”

The Paveway IV is an advanced and highly accurate, precision guided bomb, the USAF stated.

This all-weather bomb offers inertial navigation and GPS- and laser-guided bombing capabilities that are used by the UK Royal Air Force and Royal Navy fighters.

Additionally, the squadron fired the AIM-132 advanced short-range air-to-air missile (ASRAAM) from a F-35 Lightning II at an unmanned drone over the Point Mugu Sea Range off of the California coast.

"The test also verified that the F-35 properly communicated to the missile and gave it everything it needed to prosecute a target."

461st FLTS F-35 weapon integration engineer Max Heald said: “The purpose of the test was to verify that the F-35 system could be used to target and engage an air target with an ASRAAM.

“The test also verified that the F-35 properly communicated to the missile and gave it everything it needed to prosecute a target.”

The 461st FLTS is responsible for the execution of all mission systems developmental testing for UK F-35Bs.


Image: A F-35B Lightning II releases a Paveway IV precision-guided munition. Photo: courtesy of Darin Russell / Lockheed Martin.