F-35A Drops Guided Weapons over China Lake

2522
An F-35A completed the first in-flight weapons release of a 2,000 pound GBU-31 BLU-109 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) over the China Lake test range yesterday, October 16, 2012. Photo: Lockheed Martin
An F-35A completed the first in-flight weapons release of a 2,000 pound GBU-31 BLU-109 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) over the China Lake test range yesterday, October 16, 2012. Photo: Lockheed Martin
An F-35A completed the first in-flight weapons release of a 2,000 pound GBU-31 BLU-109 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM)  over the China Lake test range yesterday, October 16, 2012. Photo: Lockheed Martin
The AF-1 F-35A completed the first in-flight weapons release of a 2,000 pound GBU-31 BLU-109 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) over the China Lake test range yesterday, October 16, 2012. Photo: Lockheed Martin

As part of the continued weapons integration and validation tests, an F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft, completed the first in-flight weapons release of a 2,000 pound GBU-31 BLU-109 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM).

The test was performed yesterday, Oct. 16 as U.S. Air Force Maj. Matthew Phillips jettisoned an instrumented GBU-31 from AF-1 over the China Lake test range. Previous weapon separation tests were already performed on the F-35B variant of the Joint Strike Fighter at Patuxent River.

The weapon was carried internally, at left internal weapons bay. The F-35A can carry two such weapons internally plus two missiles, on four internal weapons stations, maintaining full stealth configuration. When stealth is not mandatory, the aircraft can carry up to 18,000 pounds using 10 weapon stations. The CTOL aircraft can three external weapon stations per wing if required.