F-35 Lightning II News

F-35A completes first in-flight JDAM release

October 17, 2012 (by AFNS) - 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) from a 5th Generation fighter, October 16, 2012.

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USAF test pilot Maj. Eric Schultz in F-35A, AF-1 performs the first successful in-flight weapons release of an inert, instrumented 2,000 pound GBU-31 from the aircraft’s left weapons bay over the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Center ranges, China Lake during a test flight on October 16th, 2012. [Lockheed Martin photo by Tom Reynolds]

The flight was conducted by U.S. Air Force Maj. 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 utilize an additional three external weapon stations per wing if required.


Courtesy of Edwards AFB



Additional images:

USAF test pilot Maj. Eric Schultz in F-35A, AF-1 performs the first successful in-flight weapons release of an inert, instrumented 2,000 pound GBU-31 from the aircraft’s left weapons bay over the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Center ranges, China Lake during a test flight on October 16th, 2012. [Lockheed Martin photo by Matthew Short]

USAF test pilot Maj. Eric Schultz in F-35A, AF-1 performs the first successful in-flight weapons release of an inert, instrumented 2,000 pound GBU-31 from the aircraft’s left weapons bay over the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Center ranges, China Lake during a test flight on October 16th, 2012. [Lockheed Martin photo by Matthew Short]