On Feb. 16, the first external weapons test mission was flown by an F-35A Conventional Takeoff and Landing (CTOL) aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., further expanding the program’s flight test envelope.
The weapons load for this mission involved carrying two air-to-air AIM-9X missiles on the outboard wing stations.
In addition, the F-35 carried two internal 2,000-pound guided bombs (GBU-31) and two advanced medium range air-to-air missiles (AIM-120) inside the two internal weapon bays. No weapons were delivered during the mission.
The jet also had mounted four external pylons that can carry 2000-pound air-to-ground weapons.
The F-35A 5th Generation fighter is designed to carry up to 18,000 pounds on 10 weapon stations featuring four weapon stations inside two weapon bays, for maximum stealth capability, and an additional three weapon stations on each wing.