[Avionics Today May 30, 2014] The F-35 Lightning II fighter jet achieved three critical flight testing milestones during a recent demonstration at the Point Mugu Sea Test Range in California.
F-35C aircraft CF-3 makes a fly-in arrestment landing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Photo, courtesy of Lockheed Martin.
According to Lockheed Martin, the fifth generation aircraft demonstrated air-to-air combat by tracking two maneuvering Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) targets. The F-35 also completed its first flight test with the next level software load and accomplished a landing at the maximum test speed and drop rate, the aerospace and defense manufacturer said.
This was also the first test that featured a live shot of the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) from any F-35 variant.
"This Weapon Delivery Accuracy test highlighted the air combat capability that will give Marine aviators a decisive combat edge in contested airspace," said J.D. McFarlan, vice president for F-35 test and verification at Lockheed Martin.
McFarlan said the U.S. Marine Corps will be the first military service branch to attain an Initial Operational Capability (IOC) F-35B in 2015.