Navy Sidewinders

Posted 27 June 2012
Photo by Andy Wolfe

The first F-35C test flight carrying external stores took place on 27 June 2012 at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division test facility at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. The aircraft carried two AIM-9X short-range air-to-air missiles on the aircraft's outer wing stations. US Navy Lt. Chris Tabert, flying CF-1, the first carrier variant test aircraft, was the pilot. Tabert has recorded a number of F-35 test milestones: the first steam catapult launch; the first weapons pit drop for an inert 1,000 pound GBU-32 GPS-guided bomb; a supersonic flight; and the first launch from the Navy’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System, or EMALS.


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