Air Force

F-35 firing its weapons upside down in latest dogfight test

t is one of the most expensive projects in military history, and has been dogged with controversy from the start.

But, as there incredible images show, the F-35 is  beginning to look more like the airborne killer it was billed as every day.

The images show the latest weapon testing, revealing the jet firing an AIM-9x missile while upside down.

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 flight test engineer for the missile test at Patuxent River Navy Base.

F-35 FACT SHEET

Role: Stealth multirole fighter

First flight: December 15, 2006

Unit cost (not including engine):

F-35A – $98million

F-35B – $104million

F-35C – $116million

Number built: 115 (as of November 2014)

Length: 15.67m

Wingspan: 10.7m

Height: 4.33m

Max speed (F-35A): 1,930kph

‘This unique missile launch is a situation we don’t expect a pilot to be in very often,’ Navy bosses say.

‘We have to prove the aircraft, and weapon, can operate at the edges of the flight envelope.’

‘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 flight test engineer for the missile test at Patuxent River Navy Base.

‘This will ensure we meet our promises to deliver the most advanced fifth generation fighter in the world.’

It comes after, at the Paris air show, a rare aerobatic display from the American F-35 has wowed crowds – and sent NATO a clear message.

The six-minute flight features a full power takeoff showing off its 40,000 pounds of thrust, steep climbs, and the tightest possible turns, and is designed to head off doubts over the controversial jet’s ability to dogfight.

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