F-35 Begins ASRAAM Integration

The first Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles (ASRAAM) were recently delivered to the US for integration and testing on the F-35 Lightning II, manufacturer MBDA announced. ASRAAM is intended for Royal Air Force and Royal Navy’s F-35Bs and will provide British Lightning IIs with a “highly capable, passive, within visual range air-to-air capability,” according to the company release. “The integration of this missile also demonstrates the success of the UK defense industry’s contribution to the wider F-35 program,” said UK Defense Minister Philip Dunne. “Around 15 percent in value of every F-35 is being built here in the UK,” he added. Integration and test efforts at Edwards AFB, Calif., and NAS Patuxent River, Md., will include captive carry and safe-separation tests, culminating in live shots against representative targets later this year. ASRAAM integration is a key step toward the RAF and RN declaring initial operational capability with the F-35 in late 2018. The UK has committed to purchasing at least 138 of the strike fighters.