The F-35 Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force conducted the first weapons separation test of an AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) from an F-35C.
On Mar. 23, during flight 180 over the NAVAIR Atlantic Test Ranges, Cmdr. Ted Dyckman, a U.S. Navy F-35 test pilot, dropped an inert JSOW from aircraft CF-05 assigned to the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 of the F-35 Lightning II Pax River ITF joint team, aboard Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.
The test marked the first non-Mk 80 series bomb ever released from an F-35 Lightning II and according to the Navy (highlight mine): “The JSOW safely separated from an internal weapons bay within the F-35C carrier variant, thereby maintaining the stealth characteristics of the aircraft. […] The team will release additional JSOWs throughout 2016. Working on the multi-phase testing of the F-35 Block 3F capabilities, are U.S. government, military and contractor personnel, and industry partners from Raytheon Systems Ltd.”
AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) is the name a family of low-cost, air-to-surface cruise missiles that employ an integrated GPS-INS system and thermal imaging IR seeker.
With an operational range of up to 130 km (when launched from high-altitude), the JSOW has been used in combat during Operation Desert Fox, Operation Southern Watch, NATO Operation Allied Force, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.