Aircraft

F-35A Joint Strike Fighter straps on its missiles

F-35A Joint Strike Fighter str...
An F-35A Joint Strike Fighter with an external weapons load (Photo: Paul Weatherman at Lockheed-Martin)
An F-35A Joint Strike Fighter with an external weapons load (Photo: Paul Weatherman at Lockheed-Martin)
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A close look at the Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder missile (Photo: Raytheon)
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A close look at the Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder missile (Photo: Raytheon)
The U.S. Air Force's F-35A Joint Strike Fighter has made a successful test flight equipped with an external weapons load (Photo: Paul Weatherman at Lockheed-Martin)
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The U.S. Air Force's F-35A Joint Strike Fighter has made a successful test flight equipped with an external weapons load (Photo: Paul Weatherman at Lockheed-Martin)
A closeup of a Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder mounted on the outward weapons pylon of the F-35A (Photo: Lockheed-Martin)
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A closeup of a Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder mounted on the outward weapons pylon of the F-35A (Photo: Lockheed-Martin)
A F-35A JSF hangared with a full weapons load (Photo: Lockheed-Martin)
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A F-35A JSF hangared with a full weapons load (Photo: Lockheed-Martin)
The first two F-35A fighters being delivered to the Air Force at Edwards AFB (Photo: David Drais at Lockheed-Martin)
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The first two F-35A fighters being delivered to the Air Force at Edwards AFB (Photo: David Drais at Lockheed-Martin)
An F-35A Joint Strike Fighter with an external weapons load (Photo: Paul Weatherman at Lockheed-Martin)
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An F-35A Joint Strike Fighter with an external weapons load (Photo: Paul Weatherman at Lockheed-Martin)

The F-35A is the conventional takeoff and landing version of the Joint Strike Fighter, intended primarily for the U.S. Air Force short range fighter role. These single-seat single-engine fifth-generation fighters are designed to carry out air defense, ground attack, and recon missions.

February 16, 2012 marked the first flight of the F-35A carrying an external load of two Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles. The F-35A also had four additional external weapons pylons which are capable of carrying 2,000-pound (907-kg) air-to-ground weapons.

The F-35A additionally carried an internal weapons load of two GBU-31 2,000-pound bombs with GPS-assisted inertial navigation systems and two AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles with inertial navigation and close-in radar guidance. These were accompanied by an internal GAU-22/A cannon - the four barrel version of the GAU-12 Equalizer 25mm Gatling rotary cannon. The cannon is supplied with 180 25mm rounds that can be fired at a rate of 55 rounds/second.

The U.S. Air Force's F-35A Joint Strike Fighter has made a successful test flight equipped with an external weapons load (Photo: Paul Weatherman at Lockheed-Martin)
The U.S. Air Force's F-35A Joint Strike Fighter has made a successful test flight equipped with an external weapons load (Photo: Paul Weatherman at Lockheed-Martin)

This first successful test with external weaponry will be followed by tests involving different loads intended for different types of missions. Live firing testing will begin at a later date.

Source: Lockheed Martin

17 comments
Christian Breiding
Screw this plane. Lockheed Martin: U.S. taxpayers want their money back.
Slowburn
re; Christian Breiding Speak for your self. Despite everything the left has done to this country it is still worth defending, and despite their claims to the contrary our existing inventory is not the best the world has to offer. Plus they are wearing out. Besides it is not military spending that is breaking the bank. I think that we should buy more F-35s than planned and double the number of F-22s.
Bill Bennett
hey slowburn, how about the billions we waste in aid to countries like Egypt, Israel, yadda, this plane is a MONEY TOILET like the really "successful" F111,( look it up) sorry gotta agree with Christian six weapon pylons? what crap, six? shoots its wad in six seconds and has to leave,, what a joke
Todd Dunning
Thank you Slowburn. Never mind the teenyboppers... we all knew everything at their age. Gotta laugh at the six pylons comment - it would fool your little sister into thinking you were a boy genius however.
Alan Belardinelli
Its reading comprehension time, BB. \"The F-35A additionally carried an internal weapons load of two GBU-31 2,000-pound bombs with GPS-assisted inertial navigation systems and two AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles with inertial navigation and close-in radar guidance. These were accompanied by an internal GAU-22/A cannon - the four barrel version of the GAU-12 Equalizer 25mm Gatling rotary cannon.\" I hope that they get the wrinkles sorted out with this one, it looks like a great plane.
Doug Gardner
external stores negate the stealth characteristics
PeetEngineer
Christian, if Obama gets his way that\'s exactly what will happen. He wants to put every aircraft engineer, technician and pilot out of work, civilian or military, and then use the money for what? Increased welfare benefits?
Slowburn
re; Doug Gardner After you have taken down the enemy\'s radar an increased radar cross-section doesn\'t matter.
Dawar Saify
Atleast the A version is moving forward, the faster this program moves, with the most possible fighter, less the cost burden. But costs are no issue to the USA sincere it\'s economy is a war economy. Military means: 1. Jobs, employment 2. Industry 3. Overall defence and security of the country 4. Research and development, with military technology having civilian application like advanced prosthetics for the disabled and better next generation drugs. 5. Integration of communications, economy, society and security net. 6. Profits in capitalist environment. 7. Maintenance of competitiveness in the international stage and global reach. And much much more! The war economy rocks.
Mirmillion
Why not just build a pilotless platform that, once empty of weapons and fuel, makes one last statement by impacting its target at max speed? Can\'t be much more expensive than the weapons themselves. Not sure why we need more than one or two pilots per multi-aircraft mission?