U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35B completes simulated defensive combat air patrol with AIM-9X missile

Photo by Cpl. Luis Velez

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.

A Marine with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced), pushes flares out of an MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft during an F-35B Lightning II AIM-9X Sidewinder missile defensive combat air patrol rehearsal, Pacific Ocean, August 7, 2019. Photo by Lance Cpl. Cameron Parks
Photo by Lance Cpl. Cameron Parks
You can report grammatical or factual errors using the online feedback form.