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.

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