Two F-35A’s teamed up with the 3rd Battalion US Rangers to provide air support against simulated hostile targets in close proximity to the Rangers.

Maj. Christopher Collins, a pilot in the 33rd Operations Support Squadron said:

“This was the first time these guys have worked with the F-35A. It was a great opportunity to share tactics and showcase some of the unique capabilities we have with this jet.”

The soldiers reportedly said the exercise was successful because it allowed them to test the capabilities and limitations of the jet as a part of their mission set.

The F-35A is the variant intended for the U.S. Air Force and other air forces. It is the smallest, lightest F-35 version and is the only variant equipped with an internal cannon, the GAU-22/A, designed for increased effectiveness against ground targets compared to the 20mm M61 Vulcan cannon carried by other USAF fighters.

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Steve
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Steve

Since the gun on the B version is external, is there an option for the British ones to also carry a version that is more effective against ground forces.

It is highly unlikely that our jets will ever be used in air to air combat, but ground support I suspect they could be used a lot for.

Jake
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Jake

I personal wished it was internal the gun but for some reason they can’t fit it when the fan systems does look like it can fit enough for an internal one.

Robbie Robinson
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It can do it nearly as well as the USAF A-10 though

Steve Altra
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Steve Altra

Harrier had the external ADEN 30mm gun mounted in two separate pods. A similar type of system could be engineered for the F-35. It could even be conformal (ie: reduced drag) and possess a reduced signature (ie: stealthy).