Lockheed Martin’s F-35A Joint Strike Fighter has conducted its first live-fire test of an air-to-air missile, the company reports.
An aircraft piloted by Air Force Capt. Logan Lamping launched an AIM-120 advance medium range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) against an aerial drone while flying in a military test range off the California coast, says Lockheed in a media release.
The drone was identified and targeted using mission systems sensors and the target’s “track” information was passed to the radar-seeking missile, say Lockheed.
The weapon launched from the aircraft’s internal weapons bay, acquired the target and flew an “intercept flight profile,” says Lockheed.
Moments before impact the missile received a self-destruct signal, preserving the drone, says Lockheed.
"This successful missile launch marks the first live-fire weapons test and is an initial demonstration of the air-to-air combat capability the F-35 will bring to the US military and our international partners," says Charlie Wagner, weapons team lead for the F-35 Joint Program Office, in the release. "This test represents the culmination of many years of careful planning by combined government and contractor teams.”
The missile test comes the day after an F-35B, the short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the fighter, successfully tested an air-to-ground laser-guided bomb.