Boondoggle much? Sorry, I mean “F-35 test pilot Maj Charles ‘Flak’ Trickey fires the first aerial gun test burst of the GAU-22/A 25mm gun from F-35A aircraft AF-2. The gun will provide operational F-35A pilots the ability to engage air-to-ground or air-to-air weapon targets, in addition to beyond visual range air-to-air missiles and precision-guided air-to-ground weapons.” The official website tells us that . . .
The 25mm gun is embedded in the F-35A’s left wing and is designed to be integrated in a way to maintain the F-35’s very low observable criteria. It will provide pilots with the ability to engage air-to-ground and air-to-air targets. The first phase of F-35 gun testing started in June, when initial shots were fired from the ground at the Edwards Air Force Flight Test Center’s gun harmonizing range.
The gun system will be further tested with a production F-35A next year for integration with the jet’s full mission systems capabilities. The test team will demonstrate the gun’s effectiveness in both air-to-air and air-to-ground employment when integrated with the next generation fighter’s sensor fusion software, which will provide targeting information to the pilot through the helmet mounted display. At the end of the program’s system development and demonstration phase in 2017, the F-35 will have an operational gun.
Anyone want to bet on that? Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin has fired a bunch of folks for problems with the fighter – the most expensive piece of military hardware ever commissioned – and the website War is Boring has another take on the aircraft’s excellence, or lack thereof.
The stealth fighter lacks the sensors, weapons and speed that allow a warplane to reliably detect and shoot down other planes in combat. Especially when those planes are shooting back.
Well that sucks.