First in-flight weapons release for F-35A
By Darren Quick
October 18, 2012
After strapping on its missiles in February shortly after its first night flight, the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) version of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35A, completed its first in-flight weapons release on October 16 in a flight conducted over the China Lake test range in California.
The flight piloted by U.S. Air Force Major Eric “Doc” Shultz, saw a 2,000 pound (907 kg) instrumented GBU-31 BLU-109 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) jettisoned from the left internal weapons bay of the 5th Generation F-35A fighter known as AF-1.
To maximize its stealth capabilities, the F-35A features four internal weapons stations located in two weapons bays, but also boasts three external weapons stations per wing for a total of 10 weapons stations that are designed to allow the aircraft to carry a payload of up to 18,000 pounds (8,165 kg).
The F-35A is the smallest and lightest F-35 variant and is intended for use by the U.S and other air forces.
Source: Lockheed Martin