Arming the F-35

Raytheon adds firepower to the world’s most advanced fighter jet

Two F-35A fighters

In December, the Royal Australian Air Force took delivery of its first Joint Strike Fighters. They will be permanently located at Base Williamtown, north of Sydney. Two F-35A fighters landed on what was hailed a big day in the history of the RAAF and the Australian Defence Force.

The world’s most advanced fighter jet needs the most advanced weapons.

Raytheon is providing precision munitions for firepower, a system that delivers real-time information from six cameras to a pilot's helmet, and an advanced landing system for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. 

“It is a truly remarkable platform,” said Stan Gorenc, a retired U.S. Air Force major general and now an international business development manager at Raytheon. “We continue to work closely with (aircraft manufacturer) Lockheed Martin to help make the F-35 the world’s most advanced fighter.”

The F-35 carries these Raytheon weapons:

AIM-9X® missile: The AIM-9X Sidewinder missile is the first short-range, air-to-air missile to be used on the F-35. The Air Force, U.S. Navy and Raytheon have successfully test-fired an AIM-9X Block I missile at a target in the air from an F-35A aircraft.

The F-35 can carry up to two AIM-9X missiles on its wings and four AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles internally. Raytheon is continuing to test-fire and equip aircraft with the AIM-9X missile, with introduction across the F-35 fleet expected in 2020.

AMRAAM® missile: The AMRAAM missile is operational on all F-35 variants. It’s the only radar-guided, air-to-air missile cleared to fly on the F-35.

JSM missile: The Joint Strike Missile is the only fifth-generation cruise missile that will be carried by the F-35, and it will also be available for use on other aircraft intended for Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare applications.

The missile’s design will allow it to be carried internally on the F-35, which helps increase the aircraft’s stealth capabilities. The JSM missile is suitable for use on the F-35’s A or C variants.

F-35A Lightning II test aircraft

An F-35A Lightning II test aircraft released AMRAAM missiles and AIM-9X missiles at QF-16 targets during a live-fire 2018 test over an Air Force range in the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

JSOW® weapon: The JSOW glide weapon is the Navy's newest medium-range, precision strike standoff system. It's the first air-launched, network-enabled weapon to be used on fourth- and fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

Internal integration on the F-35A is underway. Operational testing for the F-35C is slated for completion in 2019, and external integration is planned for the F-35B aircraft.

Paveway® bomb: Raytheon's Enhanced Paveway II bomb, a dual-mode (GPS and laser), precision-guided munition can be used against maneuvering targets.

StormBreaker™ smart weapon: The StormBreaker smart weapon is expected to be installed on all F-35 variants by 2023. The JSF can carry eight StormBreaker weapons internally and eight externally, on the wings. Paired with the F-35's sensors, it will enable the aircraft to hit moving targets in adverse weather.

Raytheon’s work on the F-35 includes other types of technology.   

In 2018, Lockheed Martin selected Raytheon to develop the next-generation Distributed Aperture System, or DAS, for the F-35 fighter jet. The F-35’s EO/DAS collects and sends high-resolution, real-time imagery to a pilot’s helmet from six infrared cameras mounted around the aircraft. 

And there's Raytheon’s Joint Precision Approach Landing System, or JPALS, a military, ground-based landing system. The Joint Strike Fighter will be the first to use it.

“JPALS is the landing system of the future for naval aviation and beyond,” said Mark Maselli, JPALS deputy program director.

The JPALS system supports landings in rugged terrain and poor visibility. The system is secure and can operate despite "spoofing" or jamming meant to disrupt the system's ability to receive valid data, or any data at all. 

Last year, Raytheon demonstrated JPAL’s portability and effectiveness in a harsh environment to the Air Force, Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. The system was used to land jets during training exercises at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona. 

Published On: 06/23/2016
Last Updated: 02/22/2019