All three variants of the F-35 Lightning II are continuing to move towards full weapons certification by achieving numerous milestones in the past four months, the F-35 Joint Program Office has declared.
Highlights include validation of Block 2B weapons software, and execution of several weapons separation and engagement tests, the F-35 Joint Program Office stated. The most recent accomplishments support the intended declaration of Initial Operational Capability (IOC) by the US Marine Corps in July this year.
The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program surpassed 25,000 combined flight hours in December. Flight-test activities involving the F-35A variant’s GAU-22 25mm gun system, which are scheduled to begin in the middle of the year at Edwards Air Force Base in California, will include ground fire tests, muzzle calibration, flight-test integration and inflight operational tests.
“The weapons development program continues to track forward on the plan laid out by the Technical Baseline Review approved in 2010,” stated Program Executive Officer Lieutenant General Christopher Bogdan. “All weapons tests needed for 2B software, the software the US Marine Corps will use to declare IOC, is complete and will be ready to go for their combat capability certification.”