Tuesday, September 13, 2016

F-35B integrated to Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense

An F-35B just carried out a test where its sensors spotted an airborne target, sent the data to an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense site, and had the land-based outpost fire a missile to defeat the target — thereby destroying an airborne adversary without firing a single shot of its own.

With this development, an F-35 can pass targeting data to an Aegis site that would fire it's own missile, likely a SM-6, to take out threats in the air, on land, or at sea. An F-35 can stealthily enter heavily contested enemy air space, detect threats, and have them destroyed without firing a shot and risking giving up it's position.
The SM-6 is the missle of choice for Aegis destroyers. It is a 22-foot long supersonic missile that can seek out, maneuver, and destroy airborne targets like enemy jets or incoming cruise or ballistic missiles. The SM-6's massive size prohibits it from being equipped to fighter jets, but now, thanks to the integration it doesn't have to.

This capability helps assuage fears over the F-35's limited capacity to carry ordnance. The jet's stealth design means that all weapons have to be stored internally, and this strongly limits the plane's overall capacity.