An F-35A test aircraft, flown by U.S. Air Force Maj. Matthew Phillips, completed the first aerial weapons release of an AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile) from a conventional takeoff and landing aircraft, Oct. 19. The aircraft, known as AF-1 and based at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., jettisoned the instrumented AIM-120 over the China Lake test range from an internal weapons bay. This was the second in-flight weapons release in three days for AF-1 as it completed the release of a 2,000 pound GBU-31 BLU-109 Joint Direct Attack Munition Oct. 16. The F-35A 5th Generation fighter is designed to carry a payload of up to 18,000 pounds using 10 weapon stations. The F-35A features four internal weapon stations located in two weapon bays to maximum stealth capability. The CTOL aircraft can also utilize an additional three weapon stations per wing if required.