F-35B successfully completed initial tests with ASRAAM and Paveway IV weapons

UK F-35B has conducted first tests with ASRAAM and Paveway IV weapons at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, United States.

A British test team, has successfully completed initial trials with ASRAAM (Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile) missiles and Paveway IV LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs) on the F-35B, the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, at NAS Patuxent River, US.

“Dummy” weapons (identical in shape and weight to the original ones) were tested during 9 flights in different configurations of both weapons types on two F-35Bs, flown by Billie Flynn, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 test pilot and Squadron Leader Andy Edgell from the RAF.

According to the team, which included personnel from BAE Systems, “the initial tests are an important step in integrating weapons onto the F-35B, allowing test pilots to understand how they affect the way the aircraft performs and handles.”

Such tests are the first step towards full interoperability of the two weapons, already used by the Royal Air Force on its existing fleet, with the F-35B, destined to enter in UK’s active service, with both the RAF and Royal Navy by 2018.

As already highlighted in the past, whilst carrying significant payload on external wing pylons makes the JSF more “convincing” as a multi-role platform, it makes the plane much less stealthy as well.

Image credit: BAE Systems


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. —-> “If i understand your point concerning the f35; it occupies the light combat jet place currently filled by the viper.”

    What I am saying is that the F-35 fills the role of both a light combat jet and heavy strike fighter. Its not just replacing the F-16 and F-18, but, also the Harrier and A-10. All those platforms are a lot closer to each other than people realize. So merging their capabilities into one platform is not beyond reason at all. The F-22 and F-15 are primary high altitude interceptors and air superiority fighters.

    —> “That logic may work for a country such as the US, having a real military budget. But if you look at Belgium or the Netherlands, for instance, both viper and lightning II users (well, Belgium not yet, but i’ll bet my shirt); they both used the f16 as their air superiority asset, initially, with other types (namely, the star fighters, mirages V and f5 tiger IIs) filling other tasks before switching to a one plane fits all policy, because of budget constraints.”

    Are you kidding? The F-35’s multi-role intergration works perfectly for these countries with limited budgets. By gradually incorporating the F-35, they will not need to maintain 3-4 independant platforms (F5, Mirage, Harrier and F-16) to accomplish the tasks that one new platform can do. A platform’s large costs are not in its development and procurement. Its in maintaining and upgrading it over 20-50 year lifespan. I think you can do the math here.

    —-> “Utter dumbness if you ask me, because in the case that one type fails to meet demands, both Brussels and Amsterdam will feel a right bunch of nitwits.”

    But it won’t fail. The F-35’s satefy and performance record already supercedes the F-14, F-16, Harrier and F-22 R&D by leaps and bounds. Today its performance and capabilities are already exceeding pilot expectations and it hasn’t even entered service yet. Of course you will never know this if you keep using the general media as your source of information for the F-35 which has been proven to be anything but accurate, factual or unbiased. Suggest you go talk to actual pilots and designers who are familiar with the F-35 instead of the usual Sprey, Wheeler, Sweetman, APA, POGO, RT news/PRAVDA crap.

    —-> “Please note that my own country; France, has chosen to follow that path too with the rafale.”

    A very good plane but not one without large costs involved. Not to mention, its an older design that faces irrelevance in the near future (10-20 years) if China and Russia continue to pursue greater weapons developments. The Rafale has the same problem as the Eurofighter. Too expensive, too old in design, too late in the game and not enough buyers.

    —-> “Although one must admit that, as of today, and albeit constant bashing by a certain press, the rafale has proven itself reliable in all but one of the combat situations it has been designed for (those being A2A, ground strike, recce, refueling, carrier ops, infantry assistance): air to air combat.”

    Well, thats what the press does everywhere (unless its government controlled like Russia). Their goal is to push their own agenda which is often pursuing greater readership with “drama” stories. They actually have a very very bad history of getting their analysis wrong of technology especially aviation platforms. Don’t just question the credibility of the story, question the writer as well. Often you’ll find they have no idea what they are talking about and just looking to peddle dirt. They have some of the worst credibility issues and its amazing very few people question them.

    As far as the Rafale, it faces too many overall limitations and the joint strike fighter is an added competition threat to it. Honestly, I don’t generally like the Canard/Delta wing design for that kind of fighter role. Canards are a cheap way of fixing the problems with delta wings but they add problems like excess drag, constant troubling downforce issues and horrible for radar detection. Deltas are generally good for very high speed planes, add mounting surfaces for lifting stuff and easier/less costly to design.

    —> “Only exercises were performed against every type available and it appears that only the raptor scored a neat victory (even though there’s a “rafale vs raptor” video circulating on youtube…:p), so i am not, per se, opposed to the notion of a plane being able to perform all the usual chores, i just do not think the lightning II would even fill ground strike properly.”

    Got to remember what a lot of people don’t understand. A lot of those games are staged for training purposes. Not to mention, the Raptor was only authorized to engage in close range merges not BVR. That means they were equiped with transponders to make them show up on Rafale’s RADAR. THe USAF loves to stack odds against its own pilots for training. Sometimes even pushing those odds to the extreme. The Rafale had a considerable handicap advantage running clean and starting close up on a Raptor’s 6 oclock. In real life, being close up on a Raptor’s 6 oclock is 9-10 chance of never going to happen. Not to mention, a Rafale engaging in any combat while “clean” configured is nearly impossible. Rafale has limited fuel range so EFTs are absolutely necessary for combat let alone full internal fuel and at least Ammo and a A-A weapons loadout. EFTs and Missiles add lots of drag cutting the Rafale seriously down in performance. Either way, it all really comes down to the pilots. A good pilot can make an F-4 threatening in battle.

    —–> “Finally, as much as i am sure that the f35 is fitted with better avionics and propulsion and armament than the types currently in use; having to chose between a proper punch or your furtivity is a mistake, not being able to visually check your six in real life is a bad idea, white fuel trucks suck, and that’s just the few issues i could think of right now.”

    Even with the best bubble canopy, no pilot can fully see their 6 oclock. As far as the F-35, that is what ‘DAS’ is for. DAS allows the pilot to see everywhere, even through the F-35 airframe in any direction he looks. It even goes beyond that allowing the pilot to get a full 360 threat detection sphere as well as being able to lock-on any of those threats.

  2. Your witnessing the evolution of what will eventually be-the world’s greatest fighter jet-ongoing upgrades will guarantee it’s air superiority for next two decades……………………

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