F-35B strikes tank with guided bomb in test

Washington DC
Source: Flightglobal.com
This story is sourced from Flightglobal.com

A Lockheed Martin F-35B has completed its first guided weapons delivery test, striking a tank with a GBU-12 Paveway II weapon, according to Lockheed Martin.

The test happened 29 October at the Edwards Air Force Base Precision Impact Range Area in California, Lockheed says in a media release.

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The GBU-12, which integrates a 227kg (500lb) general-purpose bomb with a nose-mounted laser seeker and flight guidance fins, did not contain an explosive charge.

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The F-35B, the short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the joint strike fighter, released the weapon from 25,000ft and the bomb fell for 35s, Lockheed says.

The pilot, Marine Corps Maj Richard Rusnok, identified, designated and tracked the target using the F-35’s electro-optical targeting system, which Lockheed says is the first sensor to combine forward-looking infrared, infrared search and tracking capabilities and a laser designator.

"This guided-weapons delivery test of a GBU-12 marks the first time the F-35 truly became a weapon system," says Rusnok in the release. "It represents another step forward in the development of this vital program."