The Lockheed Martin F-35A stealth fighter launched a Kongsberg Anti-Surface Joint Strike Missile (JSM). One of the first times that the jet dropped a missile. Air Force technician adapted the 5th Gen jet carrying a variety of weapons. Having a jet that can attack in many ways is an advantage.
F-35A stealth fighter will be a key player
A Norwegian defense firm made a drop test of the JSM missile from the F-35A's internal bay. The test was done at the Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California. One of the first kind of F-35 weapons testing reported Eurasian Times.
The dedicated stealth fighter will destroy tactical ground targets without getting detected. A selection of weapons will be armed on the nearly invisible plane.
Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency supervised the weapon drops from the plane. How the weapon is launched allows adjustments before fully used on the F-35.
A relatively new weapon in the USAF arsenal undergoes testing before approval. Crucial testing of launching and releasing is part of the operation of weapons. One of the stages done before the weapon is approved for the F-35As to use is to make sure that both are compatible with each other.
The F-35A is the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) that the US Air Force uses. It differs from the B and C variants. Other military services like the Navy and Army use a different variant.
JSM standoff weapon
Improved air defenses are a danger even to a nearly invisible F-35A stealth fighter. The Kongsberg (Joint Strike Missile) is the latest technology used in missiles. This standoff missile is also getting developed for Norway's armed forces.
Standoff weapons are for long-range attacks on sea or ground targets. In 2014, the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organization (NDLO) and Kongsberg made a deal to make the JSM for F-35As.
Carried on fix-wing aircraft (planes) that carry the JSM missiles for attack or defense, the missile is used against land and naval targets as its main use. Other uses are anti-surface, naval support, and bombardment for all environments.
The weapon is expected to destroy enemy targets inland, oceans, shallow shorelines. This makes testing a big deal to prove it works.
Why test the JSM?
Coordination with the JPO (Joint Program Office) of the US military to allow testing is needed. Authorities of the JPO will evaluate both the F-35A and JSM.
Brigadier Jarle Nergård, who heads the drop test for F-35As, said this about trails. He said the weapon must separate safely from its holder, not endanger the plane. Planes used are specially fitted for the JSM drop tests.
It's dangerous for bombs to drop the wrong way. F-35s store weapons inside a cover weapons bay; any accident is deadly. The first test was simple drops on the ground in padded pits. The first drop from the air worked out.
Inside the internal bay are three cameras to see inside the plane. Another camera-equipped pod is on the wing, said Nergård.
Tests are more complicated with the need to analyze what's happening during a drop. All the cameras detect a photo mark on the JSM to see what's happening inside an F-35A stealth fighter and how the missile reacts during a drop.