This photo shows all the weapons the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is designed to carry

The F-35 and its weapons suite.

Top image shows an F-35A, at Edwards AFB, California,nexto to its F-35 Systems Development and Demonstration Weapons Suite the aircraft is designed to carry.

According to Lockheed Martin, the Joint Strike Fighter can carry more than 35-hundred pounds of ordinance in Low Observable (stealth) mode and over 18-thousand pounds uncontested.

The Lightning II is conducting testing required for full weapons certification through a campaign which included validating 2B weapons software and successfully executing several weapons separation and engagement tests.

“Comprehensive flight test on the F-35A variant GAU-22 25mm gun system is scheduled to begin mid-year at Edwards AFB, Calif., and will include ground fire tests, muzzle calibration, flight test integration and in-flight operational tests. The 25mm missionized gun pod carried externally, centerline mounted on the F-35B and F-35C also begins testing this year to meet U.S. service’s desired schedule for full warfighting capability software known as 3F. The 3F software is currently planned for delivery with the Low Rate Initial Production nine (LRIP 9) U.S. aircraft in 2017,” Lockheed Martin team say in a press release.

Among the most recent tests there is the first separation test of a GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb, a 250-lb. precision-guided glide weapon (Oct. 21) and multi-separation test (Nov. 20); first external flutter tests flown with the AIM-132 Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) (Oct. 29) and Paveway IV missiles (Nov. 13); and the first supersonic-guided missile launch and the first JDAM release on target coordinates generated from the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) (Nov. 18-25 ).

The photo and updated weapons integration status report come few weeks after a report claimed the F-35 will be unable to use its gun until 2019.

Weapons Stations  Capacity_v1

Lockheed Martin Photo by Matt Short


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 all those are intelligent weapons, that mostly do their job by themselves when fired at a safe distance, that superexpensive F-35 contraption should not be necessary, but something much cheaper of as platform could do. Or put another way: Is it really necessary for an aircraft that never is intended to do a dogfight to be so expensive?

  2. Wont the stealth capability be pointless when carrying so many wing missiles?

    and on full load whats the distance this thing can travel, and how does it go against many cheep fighters such as mig-29, who will sneak trough mountains, unless were talking about fights over the pacific ocean.. basicly over sea.

    Have missiles become good enough that they can befired from max distance and still hit a target, or do we still have to fire in optimal range, and even then pray that the enemy doesn’t start to travel up and turn on its stealthjamming.

    . and how good is the f-35’s stealth capability, and is it a directional stealth.. aka just from front? so when enemys are using radar planes and ground radards to help their planes..

    is the f-35 agile enough to fly between mountans and curve around in hilly terrain like in Alaska realy low to the ground.

  3. All of you F-35 detractors read this post from carefully. It shows how important SITUATIONAL AWARENESS is in WVR combat, and how easily it is lost. The F-35 will give pilots unprecedented situational awareness.

    “DAS is always tracking every aircraft nearby, in every direction, simultaneously, and looking for
    inbound missiles at the same time. F-35 mission fusion software keeps
    targets and IDs sorted out, even in a dynamic turning dogfight or when a
    target is directly behind you.

    While flying an F-15 in a dogfight, I have to constantly swivel my head to manually detect and
    track adversaries and wingmen with my eyes. Situational awareness
    breaks down quickly, and I’m suddenly wondering if that distant object
    I’m looking at is an F-15 or an adversary aircraft.

    I’ve flown against MiG-29s, and it wasn’t until I was up close and saw the paint
    job that I could be positive it wasn’t an F-15. With your head and eyes
    shifting back and forth under high G loading in a turning fight, it is
    very easy to lose sight, get confused, and misidentify aircraft.

    Datalink update rates are too slow for ID purposes in a dogfight. ID
    correlations frequently are swapped from wingmen to bandits and vice
    versa as they streak past your jet and swap sides.

    The F-35 isn’tgoing to lose those IDs; it isn’t going to lose that situational
    awareness because there is always at least one sensor with high update
    rates tracking the various aircraft. In fact, you may even do better by
    just looking at your situational awareness displays or helmet symbology
    rather than at the confusing swirl of airplanes to visually sort out
    good from bad.

    And if a missile is shot at you in the F-35, you’ll see it coming whether it is smokeless or not. You can take the appropriate measures, or just let the aircraft automatically provide the

    In 95 percent of the air-to-air kills in history, the victim had no idea he was being shot at. Unless you’re referring to the other guy’s loss rate, that won’t be the case with the F-35.”

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