The U.S. Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command fired their first live bombs from a Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II.
The bombs, armed GBU-12s, were fired from six aircraft during a recent exercise conducted by pilots with the 33rd Fighter Wing. Officials say the event affirmed the weapon’s capabilities onboard the aircraft.
“I’m incredibly proud of our maintainers and pilots for successfully loading and releasing bombs on the range this week,” Col. Lance Pilch said in a press release. “This further proves our Airmen and Sailors are the lethality behind this weapons system.”
The F-35A is Lockheed Martin’s new 5th-generation fighter tailored for the U.S. Air Force. The plane uses conventional takeoff and landing, and is the only one of the three variants to come equipped with an internal cannon.
The majority of U.S. allied air forces also plan to fly the F-35A, making it the most common variant.
The first weapon load crews for the aircraft were certified less than two years ago. Air Force officials went on to say the live ammunition exercise paves a way forward for their training program.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense