China Lake Release

Posted 16 October 2012
Photo by Tom Reynolds

The first in-flight weapons release from an F-35A Lightning II was successfully carried out at China Lake, California, during a test flight on 16 October 2012. US Air Force test pilot Maj. Eric Schultz, flying the F-35A called AF-1, released an inert, instrumented 2,000 pound GBU-31 from the aircraft’s left weapons bay over the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Center ranges. The F-35A is designed to carry a payload of up to 18,000 pounds using ten weapon stations. The F-35A features four internal weapon stations located in two internal weapon bays and an additional three external weapon stations per wing if required. During the test, two inert AIM-9X short range heat-seeking air-to-air missile shapes were mounted on wing stations.

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