F-35B Lightning aircraft with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 executed the first shipboard hot reload of ordnance from the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp, say the US Marine Corps.
During the training flights, F-35B jets fired the 25mm cannon in coordination with MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and a US Navy MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters firing 7.62 mm machine guns to destroy the ‘killer tomato’, a large inflatable target used during live-fire exercises at sea.
Col. Robert Brodie, commanding officer of the 31st MEU, said in a statement:
“Our recent F-35B strike rehearsals demonstrate the 31st MEU’s lethality and readiness to address potential adversaries. The speed that we can conduct precision strikes with devastating effects while providing close air support to our Marines is nothing shy of awesome. Bottom-line; the F-35B defines shock and awe!Col. Robert Brodie, commanding officer of the 31st MEU”
In addition to employment of the GAU-22, the F-35B aircraft dropped a GBU-32 1,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition, and a GBU-12 Paveway II 500-pound laser-guided bomb on a first sortie say the US Marine Corps in the news release.
According to Maj. Jeffrey Davis, F-35B detachment officer-in-charge:
“Successful execution of hot reload procedures while afloat demonstrates the 31st MEU’s ability to surge offensive air support for kinetic missions in the theatre, increasing available lethality for commanders. Our organic MEU assets and personnel demonstrated the ability to reload and refuel a section of F-35Bs or a division of F-35Bs rapidly, when executing surge operations with a standard F-35B detachment.”
The GAU-22 is able to fire 3,300 rounds per minute with deadly accuracy.