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Eglin Tests Weapons Systems With F35

U.S. Air Force

On Thursday, crew members at the 33rd Fighter Wing loaded four GBU-12 munitions into an F-35A Lighting II aircraft for the first time, here at Eglin Air Force Base.

The guided munitions were loaded in preparation for pilots to launch them from the F-35A later in the day.
The weapons drop was originally scheduled for late spring of this year, but according to the 33rd Fighter Wing, innovation and persistence from its pilots and maintainers allowed for an earlier launch of the munitions.

Until Thursday, the launch of munitions from the aircraft was simulated, with weapons load crews honing their skills daily and in quarterly load crew competitions in preparation for this milestone.
The F-35A is expected to achieve Initial Operational Capability later this year.