Video Report: The F-35 Goes "Beast Mode" Against Multiple Targets

Mark Episkopos

Key point: The F-35 is compatible with several weapon layouts to accommodate a wider range of tactical scenarios.

Recently leaked video sheds light on one of the F-35’s possible weapons configurations, previously dubbed as “beast mode” in a Lockheed Martin infographic.

The video, dating back to November of 2018, depicts an F-35 simultaneously firing five air-to-surface missiles against five test targets. At least one of the targets-- a light vehicle-- can be seen moving.

Though it is presently unconfirmed where the trial took place and what kind of guided bomb was used, defense expert Ian D’Costa offered some clarifying insight to The Aviationist: “It’s an F-35 at NTTR (Nellis Test and Training Range), I could be wrong, but it [seems to be] dropping five Paveway IVs and hitting all five targets with GEOT (Good Effect On Target).”

While the site’s location remains disputed, the bombs depicted in the video are widely believed to be Paveway IV’s. Paveway IV is a 500-pound, British laser-guided bomb, described by the U.K military describes as “an advanced and highly accurate weapon that provides the RAF’s strike force with a state-of-the-art precision guided bombing capability.”

Paveway IV, introduced in 2008 and currently confirmed to be in use by the British and Saudi Arabian militaries, was developed and manufactured in close cooperation with US supply chains. This test could be the latest in a round of recent US Air Force Pavement IV trials on the F-35 platform, though it should be kept in mind that the video is likely a snippet from a series of tests involving multiple weapons.

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