F-35 fires first AIM-9X missile

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Lockheed Martin photograph by Chad Bellay

An F-35 from the 461st Flight Test Squadron launched an AIM-9X missile for the first time over the Pacific Sea Test Range Jan. 12. The Flight Sciences aircraft, AF-1, of the Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Test Force, was piloted by David Nelson, Lockheed Martin chief F-35 test pilot. The AIM-9X is an advanced infrared missile and the newest of the Sidewinder family of short-range air-to-air missiles carried on a wide range of fighter jets. The missile was launched at 6,000 feet. The shot paves the way for the F-35 to utilize the weapon’s high off-boresight and targeting capabilities, increasing lethality in the visual arena.