A Norwegian fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter jet assigned to 332 Squadron of the Royal Norwegian Air Force conducted the first air launch of an AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) in Norway, according to the Defence Blog.
Norway joined the F-35 program in 2008 to replace its F-16 fleet. The first two stealth jets were delivered for Norway to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, in late 2015, where they were used to train Norwegian pilots. The first Norwegian F-35s arrived in-country for permanent basing at Ørland Air Base in November 2017.
The Norwegian government funded the procurement of 40 of 52 F-35s, expected to mostly arrive in the early 2020s.
Norwegian Armed Forces published the F-35 firing the AMRAAM missile on March 09.
"The shooting was carried out by 332 squadrons in cooperation with the TTT squadron (testing, training, and tactics) and the maintenance and logistics organization and was the first of its kind with F-35 in Norway," the video's description read.
Defense Blog said the AMRAAM missile is operational on all F-35 variants (the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C carrier variant (CV)). It’s the only radar-guided, air-to-air missile cleared to air-launch from the fifth-generation fighter.
The AMRAAM air-to-air missile is capable of all-weather day-and-night operations. With more than two decades of design, upgrades, testing, and production, the AIM-120 missile continues to be the best weapon for dogfights.
Raytheon is the main defense contractor that makes the missile. The weapon’s advanced active guidance section provides pilots with high hit rates.
Procured by 37 countries including the U.S., the AMRAAM missile is now integrated on the F-35 and has been used on F-15, F-16, F/A-18, F-22, Typhoon, Gripen, Tornado, and Harrier.
More importantly, the Pentagon is creating an F-35 friends circle around Russia and China, and with the stealth jets armed with new AMRAAM missiles, it seems like the preparation for conflict is more obvious than ever.