Weapons certification is the next step to moving the F-35 along to initial operational capability.
The standing up of the first F-35 B squadron at Yuma Air Station in November will see the process of building a capable F-35 force begin.
Weapons certification is an important step as well.
In this video shot at Edwards Air Force Base, Caliifornia on October 17, 2012 a F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft completed the first in-flight weapons release of a 2,000 pound GBU-31 BLU-109 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) from a 5th Generation fighter, Oct. 16.
The flight was conducted by U.S. Air Force Maj. Eric “Doc” Schultz. The aircraft, known as AF-1, jettisoned an instrumented GBU-31 over the China Lake test range from the left internal weapons bay.
The F-35A 5th Generation fighter is designed to carry a payload of up to 18,000 pounds using 10 weapon stations. The F-35A features four internal weapon stations located in two weapon bays to maximize stealth capability. The CTOL aircraft can also utilize an additional three external weapon stations per wing if required.
Credit Video: Lockheed Martin
For other discussions of the F-35 and weapons see the following: