The US Air Force (USAF) has successfully fired two AIM 120 missiles from the F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft at a test range in southern California, US.
The two Raytheon-built advanced medium range air-to-air missiles (Amraam) tracked and engaged two aerial targets.
The test involved the first dual Amraam shot from any F-35 variant, and the first live Amraam launch from the F-35B short takeoff / vertical landing (STOVL) variant.
Raytheon Air Warfare Systems vice-president Mike Jarrett said the Amraam’s seeker and guidance section is the most advanced of any existing air-to-air missile.
"Amraam gives the F-35 significant fire power and provides warfighters around the globe with an unfair advantage in the fight," Jarrett said.
Amraam is a beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile capable of all-weather day-and-night operations. It has previously demonstrated operational flexibility in both air-to-air and surface-launch engagements.
The missile has been purchased by 36 countries and is integrated on the F-16, F-15, F/A-18, F-22, Typhoon, Gripen, Tornado, Harrier, F-4, in addition to JSF aircraft.
In a separate development, USAF has started integration of Raytheon’s automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) capabilities into its bombers, cargo aircraft and refuelling tankers in compliance with the 2020 mandate.
Scheduled to be incorporated into Raytheon’s identification friend or foe (IFF) systems, ADS-B transponder broadcasts the aircraft’s location and other information while flying in civil airspace.
Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems’ Integrated Communication Systems vice-president Scott Whatmough said the ADS-B transponder continuously transmits information, including direction, speed and altitude.
"The purpose behind this latest technology is to increase safety," Whatmough said.
ADS-B converts the Federal Aviation Administration’s next-generation air transportation system from a ground-based to a satellite-based platform.