F-35A test aircraft AF-6 has launched a AIM-120 missile against an aerial target drone, the first live-five launch of an air-to-air missile for the Joint Strike Fighter program.
AF-6 was piloted by Capt Logan Lamping and took off from Edwards Air Force Base, with the live fire taking place in an over-water test range.
“Test data and observers confirmed the F-35 identified and targeted the drone with its mission systems sensors, passed the target track information to the missile, and launched the AIM-120 from the aircraft to engage the target drone,” the Joint Project Office said in a statement. “After launch, the missile successfully acquired the target and followed an intercept flight profile. Moments before the missile was about to destroy the target, a self-destruct signal was sent to the AIM-120 in order to preserve the aerial drone for use in future tests.”
The AMRAAM launch came a day after a F-35B successfully completed the program’s first live air-to-ground weapons drop, when an inert GBU-12 successfully hit a stationary tank on the Edwards test range.