The U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) stealth aircraft successfully completed simulated defensive combat air patrol with live AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range missiles produced by Raytheon, according to 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The Marine Corps conducted a series of air-to-air missile drills during the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group rotation in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as ready-response force for any type of contingency, while simultaneously providing a flexible and lethal crisis response force ready to perform a wide range of military operations.
During this drill was conducted simulated defensive combat air patrol of the world’s first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft with AIM-9X missile 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).
“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.”
The AIM-9X is the newest member in the family of AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range missiles produced by Raytheon. It is an infrared air-to-air missile primarily developed for the US Air Force and the US Navy. The AIM-9X is currently in service with more than 40 countries worldwide.
The AIM-9X Sidewinder missile is the first short-range, air-to-air missile to be used on the F-35.