The Lockheed Martin’s F-35A Lightning II has completed the first three airborne gunfire bursts from its internal gun airborne unit (GAU)-22/A 25mm Gatling gun system during a California test flight.
The latest development marks the first in a series of test flights that are designed to functionally evaluate the in-flight operation of the F-35A’s internal 25mm gun throughout its employment envelope.
During the test, the aircraft fired three bursts of one 30 rounds and two 60 rounds each from its four-barrel, 25mm Gatling gun.
Edwards ITF flight test director Mike Glass said: "The successful aerial gun test sortie was a culmination of several years’ planning, which intensified in the first half of 2015 at the Edwards F-35 Integrated Test Force (ITF) Flight Test Squadron with a team of Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman personnel.
"The results of this testing will be used in future blocks of testing, where the accuracy and mission effectiveness capabilities will be evaluated."
The F-35 Lightning II is a fifth generation fighter, featuring advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.
The F-35A, a conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant of F-35, is designed to operate from conventional runways.
The F-35A’s gun, embedded in the left wing, will provide pilots with the ability to engage air-to-ground and air-to-air targets.
In June, Edwards Air Force Flight Test Center started the first phase of F-35 gun testing with initial shots were fired from the ground. It will be further tested with a production F-35A next year for integration with the jet’s full mission systems capabilities.
Image: The gunfire tests are aimed to evaluate the in-flight operation of the F-35A’s internal 25mm gun. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.