The Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet dropped a 500-pound bomb this week, hitting a tank at Edwards Air Force Base in California and marking the first time the new warplane has fired a laser-guided weapon.
An F-35 B-model jet released the Guided Bomb Unit-12 Paveway II bomb from its internal weapons bay while flying at around 25,000 feet, successfully smashing into a tank parked on the ground. It took 35 seconds to hit the target.
“This guided weapons delivery test of a GBU-12 marks the first time the F-35 truly became a weapon system,” said Marine Corps Major Richard Rusnok, the pilot who flew the plane during the weapons test Tuesday. “It represents another step forward in development of this vital program.”
Different F-35 models have test-fired missiles during flight and over water. But this marked the first time the jet had fired a guided weapon at a ground target.