An F-35C launched an AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon for the first time March 23, according to a press release. The air-to-surface guided glide bomb was cleanly released from an internal weapons bay in the test aircraft, Navy test pilot Cmdr. Ted Dyckman, who flew the mission, said in the release. The F-35 Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force released one JSOW over the Atlantic Test Ranges during the flight, but will release more JSOWs throughout the year. The weapon is integrated and in operational status on F-16, F/A-18, B-52, F-15E, B-1B, and B-2; the JSOW is a joint Navy-Air Force program, but Navy is in the lead. (See also: First F-35 External Weapons Release.)
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."