Lockheed Martin has hit a significant test milestone with the first in-flight weapon release from an F-35.

Achieved on 8 August, the GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition was released at an altitude of 4,000ft (1,220m) from the aircraft, BF-3, which was travelling at 400kt (740km/h) above an Atlantic test range.

The release was the first time for any version of the F-35 to conduct an airborne weapon separation, as well as the first from an internal weapons bay from the short take-off and vertical landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter.

"While this weapons separation test is just one event in a series of hundreds of flights and thousands of test points that we are executing this year, it does represent a significant entry into a new phase of testing for the F-35 program," says Navy Captain Erik Etz, director of test for F-35 naval variants.

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.

Source: Flight International