F-35’s ‘Beast Mode’ Enables It to Carry 22,000 Pounds of Bombs – but at a High Cost

The F-35 was meant to be a stealthy aircraft... But when it enters 'Beast Mode,' it loses its stealth capabilities but can carry almost four times more ordnance.
beast mode

The F-35 Fighter is known for its advanced stealth capabilities as a fifth-generation aircraft, but this fighter bomber can be extremely deadly in “Beast Mode.” 

The F-35 fighter jet can take out multiple targets in just seconds with over ten different missiles and bombs. This capability shows that the F-35 is not just a stealth fighter – it’s a true beast when it comes to combat.

The F-35 in ‘Beast Mode’

The F-35 fighter was designed to be a versatile platform, adaptable to various scenarios. In most operations, stealth is the best choice…. But, there are times when being noticed and just wreaking havoc is exactly what is needed.


f 35 beast mode navy
F-35 beast mode by Dane Wiedmann/U.S. Navy

That’s where “beast mode” comes in. By loading up on external munitions, the F-35 can transform from a stealthy infiltrator to an actual flying nightmare.

In beast mode, the F-35 fighter load up munitions on its external weapons pylons, boosting its total ordnance from a mere 5,700 pounds to an impressive 22,000 pounds. 

Of course, the beast mode is used when the air force gains air supremacy, and there’s no issue with being detected by the enemy radars.


F-35 armament

The F-35 is capable of carrying at least ten weapons, four internally and six externally, making it a powerful asset in both air and ground combat operations.

f 35 beast mode marines
F-35 in beast mode by US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Samuel Ruiz.

It is armed with air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles and precision-guided bombs. However, the configuration of missiles and bombs would depend on the mission.

Its primary weapon is the AIM-120 air-to-air missile, which is highly effective against enemy aircraft. 


The F-35 fighter can also carry the AIM-9X air-to-air missile, which is designed to engage targets at close range.

For ground attacks, the F-35 can carry the GBU-12 laser-guided bomb, the GBU-32 JDAM-guided bomb, and the AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon. 

In addition, the F-35 is armed with a 25mm GAU-22/A four-barrel rotary cannon… And since 2024, it will be able to carry nuclear bombs, and it will probably carry hypersonic missiles and a solid-state laser in the near future.


The F-35 fighter is also equipped with an external fuel tank and cannon for close air support missions. In addition, the aircraft has several sensors and electronic warfare systems that allow it to detect and track enemy targets. 

The F-35 fighter jet is more than a stealth aircraft – it can be a lethal weapon for attack operations 

Navy's Next Gen F-35 Stealth Strike Fighter Flies
Navy’s Next-Gen F-35 Stealth Strike Fighter Flies by Courtesy. Public Domain.

The F-35 was built to enter enemy airspace undetected. However, it has top attack capabilities and can take down any fighter jet worldwide.

So, whether stealthily infiltrating enemy territory or unleashing all 22,000 pounds of ordnance on its targets, the F-35 is more than up for the task and is ready to be deployed in war zones to show what it is capable of.


Feature image credit: US Marine Corps by Sgt. Samuel Ruiz. Public Domain.

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