WASHINGTON, April 14 (UPI) — U.S. Air Force officials are pressing ahead with testing of the British-built Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles for the F-35 Lightning II.
Service officials have conducted store separation testing of the AIM-132 Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile, or ASRAAM, at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn.
“The objective of the test was to investigate the separation characteristics of several armaments, which included the AIM-132 as well as the AIM-9X, AIM-120C, AGM-154 Joint Stand-off Weapon, GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition and Paveway IV, from internal and external weapons stations of the Short Take-off and Vertical Landing and Carrier Variant versions of the JSF aircraft,” according to a service statement.
Results from the separation tests have supported “internal and external weapons separation characteristic evaluations and structural analyses for various aircraft weapons loadings,” on all variants of the F-35, U.S. Air Force officials say.
Ongoing ASRAAM testing at Arnold Air Force Base, as well as Edwards Air Force Base in California and Naval Air Station Pautuxent River in Maryland, “will eventually lead to live shots against representative targets,” service officials say.
Initial deliveries of the AIM-132 missile from European missile-maker MBDA began in February. Once operational it will be the first British-built missile to be integrated onto the F-35 fighter. The British version of the jet is expected to hit full operational capability by 2018.
Other F-35 partner nations include Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Norway, Denmark, Israel and Singapore.