Pic of the Day: F-35 Gets Gas

This is the coolest picture of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter I’ve seen in a while. It shows the JSF conducting in-fight refueling while loaded with weapons on its wing hardpoints for the first time ever.

The jet above, an F-35A known as AF-4, is refueling from a KC-10 Extender  on April 21 over California while carrying two inert AIM-9X Sidewinders on the outer wing hardpoints along with two AIM-120 AMRAAMs and a pair of JDAMs (GPS-guided bombs) in its internal weapons bay.

The mission is one of many designed to test how well the jet flies while carrying a load of external weapons before the plane begins dropping ordnance later this year.

  • Andy

    So what is a point of Stealth when you have a missile hanging out side eh.

    • DGR

      Sometimes you dont need stealth (North Korea still has swarms of Korean war vintage fighters….. for example) and you need more missles. This is the cheapest way to get those extra missles. Or when you need some CAS and 2 JDAMs just wont do the job.

      • Andy

        correct me if I’m wrong, MAKE THE DMMM PLANE BIGGER

      • Andy

        1 BILLION dollar a piece ? I rather have F22 .

        • tiger

          The F-22 is not a fighter/attack. They are 186 over priced, Can’t breathe in MIG chasers. That have yet to chase any. So please, stop dreaming about F-22’s as a solution.

          • Andy

            So WHY: The US Navy has published its request for information to get a replacement for FA-18E/F and EA-18G Growlers “in the 2030 timeframe”,

          • JonMusser

            F-22 is already set to be upgraded to be a fighter bomber the plane has better range to strike and better abilities (such as range to strike larger internal bay and the dang thing can maneuver) build the f-22 to a total of 600 and build a non stealth low end fighter to about 1200 to 1600 then you have a range of choices at least in my opinion while I no the navy and marines need a bird I am not sure what that could be

      • Hunter76

        1) If you don’t have stealth, NK doesn’t need advanced fighters. In fact, NK can rip those F35s out of the air with SAMs.

        2) You can’t put cheaper and F-35 in the same sentence. There are plenty of airframes that will carry that ordinance much cheaper.

        3) F-35 for CAS is absurd. A CAS craft needs to be slow, well-armored, high payload, simple and cheap- so you can have plenty of them. It’d be ridiculous if an F-35 were brought down by ack-ack or a shoulder-launched.

        • jessmo24

          F-35 for CAS is absurd. A CAS craft needs to be slow, well-armored, high payload, simple and cheap- so you can have plenty of them. It’d be ridiculous if an F-35 were brought down by ack-ack or a shoulder-launched.

          Read more: http://live-defensetech.sites.thewpvalet.com/2012/04/24/pic-of-the-day-…

          Just like the F-16,F-18 right? Im glad none of those planes performed at CAS.. O-o

        • ajspades

          Strange, because UAVs are doing ALOT of CAS and other than the simple, cheap, and slow, they don’t fulfill the rest of your criteria.

      • Andy

        Boeing’s proposed 6th-Gen Navy jet. http://live-defensetech.sites.thewpvalet.com/2010/11/05/air-force-kicks…

        stealthy looking .

        Read more: http://live-defensetech.sites.thewpvalet.com/2012/04/24/pic-of-the-day-…

    • Pat

      Do you know what… Nevermind

  • Bob

    Can we get a high-res version? Thanks.

    • A. Nonymous


  • lol

    Its been one of those days. I actually burst out laughing at the title “F35 gets gas”

    • Pat

      lol at ur name!

    • passingby

      the F-35 always looks as if it’s got lots of gas. I think the same is true of F-35 design engineers.

  • tee

    US Navy looks like it’s looking for a way out of the F-35. On “Defense Talk” today one of the lead articles ( Will The Navy Find A New Aircraft That Can Replace JSFail? ) http://www.defencetalk.com/will-the-navy-find-a-n…

    Looks like a lot more Super Hornets are coming soon?

    • Andy

      Boeing’s proposed 6th-Gen Navy jet.

      stealthy looking .

    • tee

      And if they did buy more Super Hornets and Cancel the F-35 it would save the Navy $43.64 billion dollars which would sure help buy a lot more ships, you know those floaty things the Navy is supposed to be based on. That they don’t have the money to buy because of the major cost increases of the to models of F-35 that they are looking at buying. F-35B Cost: $291.7 Million and the F-35C Cost: $ 235.8 Million each. You can buy 2 F-35C’s or a LCS, or for the 43 Billion get 15 more Arleigh Burke-class Destroyers. Just a thought that must be going threw a few heads in the Navy.

  • Kski

    The hardpoints look nice but hope there stealthy too.

    • Ben

      Don’t get your hopes up, they’re not.

      And before you say “But I thought the F-35 was supposed to be stealthy!” It is, but not necessarily all of the time. It only needs stealth when going up against SAMs and higher-end aircraft, in which case it does not carry external weapons. But as soon as we have air superiority it can load up the pylons, sacrifice stealth and attack ground targets at will.

      • MikeD

        Actually they are designed with RCS reduction in mind AND they are fully jettisonable too should the need to ‘stealth up’ be required.

        Please do not post answers to questions if you don’t have the full facts, thankyou.

        • Ben

          Uh, no, they’re not. Those are the same pylons that we use with our other aircraft. I know what you’re referring to and they have not been developed yet. These may be able to be jettisoned, but unless you’re concealing the ordnance within actual pods, they’ll stick out like a sore thumb on radar.

          Please do not try and correct me if you do not have the full facts, thank you.

    • blight_

      I wonder if redesigning mounting hardware and using confocal casings might be helpful in reducing drag (and increasing loiter, range or speed) and lowering RCS.

      • Ben

        I was thinking the same thing. Maybe something like the conformal tanks on F-16’s and F-15E’s. They made it work with the Silent Eagle.

  • Lance

    The plane looks so much more deadly and cool with hard points on it.

  • Rohan

    Itzzzz having a stealthy deadly looks !!!

  • Erick Borling

    Where the heck is the hi-rez picture?

    • Richard

      here the heck it is http://www.flickr.com/photos/lockheedmartin/71103…

  • http://twitter.com/E_L_P @E_L_P

    Those are not weapons. They are captive carry test shapes. Big difference.

    • MikeD

      How the f**k do you know?

      • Miked

        To add to that, the press release makes no mention of captive carry test shapes, non at all anywhere. They ARE real weapons ELP and once again you’ve been caught out trying to smear the F-35 program.

        • http://twitter.com/E_L_P @E_L_P

          “Press release” is the operative phrase. Real weapons? You mean you can do an end of runway check on them; pull the safety pins; and they will be ready to arm when fence-in?


    • Atomic Walrus

      Not for the purpose of testing aircraft handling characteristics. Or would you prefer to conduct a test flight with high explosives on board the aircraft?

  • Icepick79

    I don’t see a jump platform; how is the jumpmaster supposed to perform the required safety and location checks at the 3 minute slowdown? So, a plane that cannot carry paratroopers….WTH?

    • Riceball

      Which plane are you talking about? The F-35 or the KC-10? Because neither was designed to be a troop transport, one was designed to carry gas the other bombs and missiles.

    • Kurt

      Possible that Icepick was taking a well-disguised ‘stab’ (pun definitely intended) at those who nit-pick a program (JSF) for things that are tangential at best. Maybe.

  • Jason

    Any way to make it full-size?