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November 3, 2015

USAF’s F-35A completes first three aerial gun tests

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.

By Samseer M

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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 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.

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