Pilots launched from the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp to rehearse Combat Air Patrol missions with the F-35B, carrying and employing a live AIM-9X Sidewinder.
This firing, say the US Marine Corps, marked the first operational F-35B live-fire of the AIM-9X missile in the Indo-Pacific region while conducting blue-water flight operations.
“The rehearsal was in conjunction with the hot reload of ordnance including GBU-12 Paveway II Laser-Guided Bombs and GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, and 25-mm ammunition with a GAU-22 cannon.
The air-to-air missile drill validated weapons assembly and loading procedures on the flight deck of the ship and showcased the F-35B’s flexibility to offensively engage airborne targets. The missile targeted and successfully engaged LUU-2 flares dispensed out of an MV-22B Osprey during flight operations.”
According to Maj. Jeffrey Davis, F-35B detachment officer-in-charge with VMM-265 (REIN) in a release:
“The 31st MEU regularly conducts F-35B Combat Air Patrol rehearsals and is fully prepared to maintain aerial dominance against any threat,” said Col. Robert Brodie, 31st MEU commanding officer. “Our successful live-fire employment of the AIM-9X further exemplifies our preparedness to ‘fight and win’ against any adversary in any arena.”