First F-35A GBU-12 Load, 33rd FW

Eglin AFB, 33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs // March 04, 2016

On Thursday, 3 March, 2016, at 2 a.m., 33rd Fighter Wing maintainers loaded four GBU-12 munitions into F-35A Lighting II aircraft for the first time, here.

U.S. Air Force Photo

Airmen from the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons section loaded the guided munitions in preparation for pilots to launch them from the F-35A later Thursday morning.

“For us weapons loaders it’s a really exciting moment for us all, this is what we’re trained to do” said TSgt Robert Beltran, 58th AMU weapons expediter, “We’ve looked forward to doing this for a long time.”

The weapons drop was originally scheduled for late spring of this year, but innovation and persistence from 33rd FW pilots and maintainers allowed for an earlier launch of the munitions.

“There was a lot of work that went into making this weapons drop happen,” said Lt. Col. Brad Bashore, 58th Fighter Squadron commander. “We had some sharp folks from the squadron and the maintenance side who put their heads together to make the modifications and the funding come together for this drop to happen safely and ahead of schedule.”

Read the full article from 33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs.