UOTT Conducts 8 Live Fire Missile Tests

  • Published
  • By Capt. Braydon R. White
  • Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center Detachment 6

The United Operational Test Team (UOTT) completed eight live fire missile tests in support of the F-35’s Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2) program.

The UOTT collaborated with the Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 9 (VX-9) at Edwards AFB, Calif.; the Air Force’s 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nev.; and the 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron at Tyndall AFB to execute the operationally realistic live fire tests.

“This was the largest live fire event in UOTT history,” said Joshua Herrera, UOTT lead for the event. “I’m super proud of the team and the hard work they’ve done over the past few months leading up to the event. We’re looking forward to delving deep into the data in the coming weeks.”

The team employed four missile types, the AIM-120D, AIM-120D3, AIM-9X, and AIM-9X-3, against advanced targets provided by the 83rd FWS’ Weapons System Evaluation Program. The tests verified the effectiveness of several new advanced capabilities and tactics and fulfilled congressional oversight requirements for F-35 operational testing. The team also collaborated with the Royal Australian Air Force’s No. 2 Squadron, which operates the E-7A Wedgetail, to evaluate the effectiveness of advanced coalition tactics.

This event constituted the first time an F-35 fired the new AIM-120D3. The AIM-120D3 features modernized hardware, compared with the AIM-120D, and is postured to receive continuous agile software updates in the coming years to further refine its capabilities. The missile was launched from one of VX-9’s F-35Cs.

“The AMRAAM has been a staple of the United States’ and our allies’ air-to-air arsenals for decades,” said LCDR Wes Holt, VX-9 pilot. “This new AIM-120D3 performed exceptionally well. I’m excited to see how its performance continues to advance in the coming years with its software improvement program.”

The live fire tests were conducted with F-35s loaded with 30R08.051 software which is the latest developmental software release from Lockheed Martin as part of the C2D2 program.

“The UOTT has several mission effectiveness tests planned in the coming months to fully characterize the F-35’s performance,” said Lt. Col. Brent Carroll, UOTT Chief Operational Test Director. “We’re also planning multiple additional live fire tests to ensure this software is robust and capable when it gets delivered to the Combat Air Force and Fleet.”