The F-35 has successfully conducted its first firing trials of the MBDA Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM). MBDA notes that this is the first time a British-designed missile has been fired from the F-35 and the first time any non-US missile has been fired from the aircraft.
The tests, conducted from both Naval Air Station Patuxent River and Edwards Air Force Base, involved flight trials and air-launched firings from a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B. One ASRAAM was fired at an unmanned drone over the Point Mugu Sea Range off of the California coast.
The trials were conducted by the integrated test teams at Patuxent and Edwards, which include Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, MBDA and Northrop Grumman.
MBDA is also under contract for the ASRAAM Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP) to build replenishment missiles for the Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. The CSP effort makes use of ASRAAM’s commonality with the CAMM missile family, also being bought by the Royal Navy and British Army, to deliver extensive cost savings across the UK Armed Forces.
The F-35B weapon trials included the Paveway IV precision-guided bomb, which is also used by the RAF. The first test, at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, was a laser-mode employment of the guided bomb against a tank on the ground. The second test was conducted over Edwards AFB’s Precision Impact Range Area to test the bomb’s GPS/inertial navigation employment against a tank.