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