F-35B Drops a Dummy Bomb for the First Time
A test model of the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, flying out of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, accomplished a significant test milestone Aug. 8 when the aircraft successfully released a weapon in flight.
The test model, BF-3, is a short take-off and vertical landing variant of the aircraft being tested for use by the Marine Corps. It released an inert 1,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) separation weapon over water in an Atlantic test range while traveling at 400 knots at an altitude of 4,200 feet.
The release was the first time any version of the F-35 conducted an airborne weapon separation, as well as the first from an internal weapons bay for a fighter aircraft. The milestone marks the start of validating the F-35′s capability to employ precision weapons and allow pilots to engage the enemy on the ground and in the air.
An aerial weapons separation test checks for proper release of the weapon from its carriage system and trajectory away from the aircraft. It is the culmination of a significant number of prerequisite tests, including ground fit checks, ground pit drops and aerial captive carriage and environment flights to ensure the system is working properly before expanding the test envelope in the air.
Aircraft and land-based test monitoring systems collected data from the successful separation, which is in review at the F-35 integrated test force at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.
Watch the weapon release test:
Source: PEO(JSF) Public Affairs