Bomb Away

BF-3, an F-35B test aircraft, became the first F-35 strike fighter to release a weapon in flight, when it successfully deployed an inert 1,000-pound bomb over the Atlantic Ocean during an Aug. 8 test from NAS Patuxent River, Md. “While this weapons separation test is just one event in a series of hundreds of flights and thousands of test points that we are executing this year, it does represent a significant entry into a new phase of testing for the F-35 program,” said Navy Capt. Erik Etz, director of test for F-35 naval variants, in a Navy release. The F-35B released the GBU-32 joint direct attack munition from its internal weapons bay while traveling at 400 knots at an altitude of 4,200 feet, states the release. This test marked the start of validating the F-35’s ability to employ precision weapons and allow pilots to engage targets on the ground and in the air, said the Navy.