A hot-load is when live ordinance is loaded on an aircraft that has its engine running. Recently the US Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron 121 performed a hot-load on an F-35B with AMRAMM AIM-120 missiles.
The exercise was a validation/verification conducted during Weapons and Tactics Instructors course 1-18. WTI is an exercise that takes service members from all over the world in a joint training exercise for mission readiness. WTI is hosted by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron one.
“They will now have a publication to use,” said Cpl. Matthew Donovan an aviation ordnance technician with VMFA-121. “We took it out there and we validated it. We know it works so now in the future they will have it in writing.” The hot-load exercise was conducted to ensure both pilots and ground crew have a real example of operations should those units deploy. The F-35B’s were loaded with the AIM-120 missile and took off horizontally immediately after.
“Decreasing aircraft turnaround time and increasing sortie generation due to the aircraft not having to power down, receive maintenance and start up again,” said Staff Sgt. Kevin Knight an Aviation Ordnance Technician with VMFA-121. “It’s critical in developing our expeditionary capabilities.” – US Marine Corps
The AIM-120 is currently the only missile in the F-35B arsenal.
Featured image of U.S. Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 loading ordnance on a F-35B Lightning II while conducting a hot-load during Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 1-18 in Yuma, AZ by Lance Cpl. Koby Saunders