F-35 Conducts First Aerial Firing with 25mm Gun

F-35 Conducts First Aerial Firing with 25mm Gun 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
F-35 test pilot Maj Charles "Flak" Trickey recently conducted the first aerial gun firing for Lockheed Martin. We're talking about the GAU-22/A 25mm gun from a normal F-35A model that will provide the US Air Force with the ability to engage air-to-ground or air-to-air weapon targets.
Just because most aerial combat is now carried out at long distances doesn't mean we should underestimate the value of the gun in close dogfights. The F-35B/C will replace the Harrier for the Navy and Marines, so it needs to have a great ground attack capability as well.

The gun could mean the difference between life and death if the United States ever finds itself in a conflict with a superpower. In stealth mode, the F-35 has a minute load capability of 4 missiles, compared to 14 for the SU-35.

The thing is that the F-35 might not be very good in a dogfight, making the small caliber pointless against anything other than soft ground targets. The F-16 multirole fighter remains the backbone of the Air Force with other one thousand planes still in service. Even though it has been in production for 40 years, the latest F-16D model spanked the F-35 in a mock dogfight. As a pure fighter, the F-15 Eagle is still a decent machine, and the Israelis just ordered a bunch more.

The carrier version that's supposed to have vertical takeoff and landing capabilities is faced by a bunch of other problems. These include the fact that specially commissioned Navy carriers cannot cope with continuous operations of the F-35B and the MV-22. Apparently, the hot exhaust gasses are too… hot.

Instead of a gun mounted in the wing, the F-35B will feature a detachable ventral gun pop (in the middle of the belly). This system will increase the aircraft's radar section while only housing a few smart rounds. They are developing a new sub-50lb smart munition system, but it won't have the same shock and awe as the retired A-10 Warthog.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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