Lightning II Strikes

Posted 29 October 2013
Photo by Darin Russell

The F-35 program completed the first guided weapons delivery against a ground target during a test flight on 29 October 2013 on the range at Edwards AFB, California. Marine Corps Maj. Richard Rusnok, flying an F-35B short take-off and vertical landing variant, successfully released a 500-pound GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided weapon from the F-35's internal weapons bay at 25,000 feet. The bomb fell thirty-five seconds before hitting a fixed ground target—a tank. The GBU-12 used in this test did not contain explosives. The F-35 used its Electro-Optical Targeting System, or EOTS, to enable the pilot to identify, track, designate, and accurately deliver the GBU-12 on target. EOTS combines forward-looking infrared, infrared search and track, and a laser designator.


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