U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II stealth fighter has fired an AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile while flying upside-down.
“This unique missile launch is a situation we don’t expect a pilot to be in very often,” read the release. But now they know that if they need to fire a missile while experiencing negative G forces and inverted, they can.
“We want to provide the maximum capability of the F-35 to the fleet to get them where they need to be for training and operational use,” said James Shepherd, the test pilot who fired the missile at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. “This will ensure we meet our promises to deliver the most advanced fifth generation fighter in the world.”
It is unclear if the inverted live-firing is a routine part of F-35 development programme.
AIM-9X Sidewinder missile is the most advanced infrared-tracking, short-range air-to-air and surface-to-air missile in the world. It is configured for easy installation on a wide range of modern aircraft, including the F-15, F-16, F/A-18 and F-4 fighters; A-4, A-6 and AV-8B attack aircraft; and the AH-1 helicopter. Foreign aircraft configured for AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles include the Tornado, the JA-37 Viggen and the Sea Harrier.