Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 just performed their first ‘hot reload’ of an F-35B Lightning II at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. This drill is to simulate and prepare for ‘real world’ scenarios.

A ‘hot reload’ is when the aircraft’s ordinance is replenished with the pilot remaining in the aircraft and the engine still running. Kind of like a pit stop at a NASCAR race you want to reload the plane as fast as possible so it can get back to the action!

Another good reason for a hot reload is that when you keep the engine running you are less likely to encounter a mechanical problem compared to if you shut it down and then try to restart it.

You can also ‘hot pit’ and refuel a jet without turning the engine(s) off.

The Marine Corps performed the first ever hot reload of the F-35B at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona on Sept. 22, 2016.

Feature image by of F-35 by Lance Cpl. Joseph Abrego, US Marine Corps

VMFA-121 conducts hot reloads
A U.S. Marine with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 salutes a pilot during hot-reload training at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, April 6, 2017. This signified the first time the squadron loaded ordnance onto a running F-35B Lightning II aircraft at the air station in order to prepare for real-world scenarios. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Joseph Abrego)