When a single F-35 used sensors, on-board computers and targeting systems to find, track and destroy two airborne drones at the same time with air-to-air missiles, the emerging 5th Gen fighter transitioned into a new era for offensive attack missions.

An F-35 pilot fired two Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles at maneuvering drones in the air, brining synchronized attack to a new level for the aircraft, using an integrated targeting sensor, called the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS).

“Two AMRAAMs had multiple targets - to shoot two airborne targets simultaneously. It was a complex set up that happened over the Pacific. They were shooting at drones,” Lt. Col. Tucker Hamilton, F-35 Test Director, Edwards AFB, told reporters.

The test, which of course brings substantial tactical implications, was referenced as a decisive element of the Pentagon’s now completed multi-year System Development and Demonstration (SDD) test phase for the F-35.

The SDD phase completion milestone, which paves the way for accelerated full-rate production of the aircraft, lasted more than a decade – and included more than 46 weapons tests, Hamilton added.

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