First AIM-120 Launch

Posted 5 June 2013
Photo by Matthew Short

US Air Force test pilot Lt. Col. George Schwartz was at the controls of F-35A AF-1 on 5 June 2013 for the first powered AIM-120 air-to-air missile launch from an F-35. During the test, the missile was released from the F-35’s internal weapon bay. Once clear of the aircraft, the missile’s rocket motor ignited. The flight originated from the Air Force Test Center at Edwards AFB, California, and the launch occurred over the Point Mugu Sea Test Range off the California coast. This test is the first step toward targeted launches in support of Block 2B software fleet release later this year. The F-35A features four internal weapon stations in two weapon bays. See the video of the launch.

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