The F-35, piloted by Air Force Capt. Logan Lamping, fired an AIM-120 advanced medium range air-to-air missile at the F-35 Integrated Test Facility at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Lamping fired the missile at an aerial drone target.
Systems inside the F-35A appropriately “identified and targeted the drone with its mission systems sensors, passed the target “track” information to the missile, and launched the AIM-120 from the aircraft to engage the target drone,” according to an Air Force release. Right before, the missile hit the target, it self destructed to keep the drone whole for future tests.
“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 U.S. military and our international partners” said Charlie Wagner, weapons team lead for the F-35 Joint Program Office. “This test represents the culmination of many years of careful planning by combined government and contractor teams. It is one test, with many more to come, to ensure operators will receive the combat capability they need to execute their mission and return home safely.”