An F-35A conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) aircraft completed the first in-flight weapons release this week.
The weapon was a 2,000 pound GBU-31 BLU-109 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) dropped form the 5th Generation jet fighter.
The 5th generation F-35 Lightning II integrates advanced stealth technology into a highly agile, supersonic aircraft that provides the pilot with unprecedented situational awareness and unmatched lethality and survivability. As new threats emerge, it is more important than ever for U.S. and allied fighter fleets to fly the F-35 stealth fighter, the world’s only 5th generation international aircraft. While each aircraft is uniquely designed to operate from different environments, all three variants set new standards in network-enabled mission systems, sensor fusion and supportability. The F-35 redefines the multi-role fighter.
The flight was conducted by U.S. Air Force Major Eric “Doc” Schultz. The aircraft, known as AF-1, jettisoned an instrumented GBU-31 over the China Lake test range from the left internal weapons bay.
The F-35A 5th Generation fighter is designed to carry a payload of up to 18,000 pounds using 10 weapon stations. The F-35A features four internal weapon stations located in two weapon bays to maximize stealth capability. The CTOL aircraft can also utilise an additional three external weapon stations per wing if required.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 120,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation’s net sales for 2011 were $46.5 billion.