The first Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles (ASRAAM) were recently delivered to the US for integration and testing on the F-35 Lightning II, manufacturer MBDA announced. ASRAAM is intended for Royal Air Force and Royal Navy’s F-35Bs and will provide British Lightning IIs with a “highly capable, passive, within visual range air-to-air capability,” according to the company release. “The integration of this missile also demonstrates the success of the UK defense industry’s contribution to the wider F-35 program,” said UK Defense Minister Philip Dunne. “Around 15 percent in value of every F-35 is being built here in the UK,” he added. Integration and test efforts at Edwards AFB, Calif., and NAS Patuxent River, Md., will include captive carry and safe-separation tests, culminating in live shots against representative targets later this year. ASRAAM integration is a key step toward the RAF and RN declaring initial operational capability with the F-35 in late 2018. The UK has committed to purchasing at least 138 of the strike fighters.
Lessons from the KC-46 and F-35 will prove useful for the testing community in the years to come, said Nickolas Guertin, the nominee to be director of operational test and evaluation for the Pentagon, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Oct. 19.