USAF's two F-35A Lightning II aircraft drops laser-guided bombs
The US Air Force's (USAF) two F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft have successfully engaged four laser-guided bombs on the Barry M. Goldwater Range.
The latest development marks a milestone for the F-35 programme which is striding towards achieving the initial operational capability.
USAF 62nd Fighter Squadron commander lieutenant colonel Gregory Frana said: "Yesterday we were able to execute one of the primary missions of this multi-role fighter and successfully employ air to ground weapons.
"As we execute the mission of training the world's greatest F-35 pilots it is critical we make our training as realistic as possible."
The procedure was conducted as part of a regular training programme scheduled to provide realistic training for the F-35 instructor and student pilots at Luke Air Force Base (AFB).
A fifth-generation fighter, the F-35 Lightning II combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.
Currently under development in three versions, the F-35 JSF is a fifth-generation multi-role fighter aircraft variants will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the US Air Force (USAF), the F/A-18 for the US Navy, the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the US Marine Corps.
The aircraft is expected to achieve full operational capability with the USAF by 2021 or 2022.
Lockheed is jointly developing the F-35 with its partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.
Image: A F-35A Lightning II aircraft. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force.