Game Changer: Combining Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and AEGIS Missile Defense

F-35. Image: Lockheed Martin

F-35. Image: Lockheed Martin

By Dave Majumdar September 13, 2016

The United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps have successfully tested the Lockheed Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighter with the Naval Integrated Fire Control—Counter Air (NIFC-CA) battle network.

Integrating the stealthy new fighter into the NIFC-CA network will allow the jet to provide over-the-horizon targeting for Aegis cruisers and destroyers to defeat incoming threats. Moreover, the F-35 will be able to provide targeting data to the rest of the fleet from inside a zone defended by advanced Russian or Chinese air defense systems such as the S-400 or HQ-9.

“This test was a great opportunity to assess the Navy’s ability to take unrelated technologies and successfully close the fire control loop as well as merge anti-surface and anti-air weapons into a single kill web that shares common sensors, links and weapons,” said Anant Patel, a Navy program manager for future combat systems in the Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS), in a statement.

During the live-fire test—which took place on Sept. 12 at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico—a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B acted as an off-board sensor to detect an over-the-horizon threat for a shore-based Aegis test-rig called USS Desert Ship (LLS-1). During the test flight, the F-35B operational test aircraft demonstrated that it could relay data via its Multi-Function Advanced Data Link to a ground station linked to Desert Ship. The land-based test facility—which is equipped with the latest Aegis Weapon System Baseline 9.C1 configuration—successfully engaged the target—likely a cruise missile—using a Raytheon SM-6 missile.

While the test demonstrated the F-35’s ability to tie into NIFC-CA in order to relay data to the Aegis system in an anti-air capacity, the battle network is key to the Navy’s strategy to defeating so-called anti-access/area denial threats in the West Pacific, the Baltics or Eastern Mediterranean. Indeed, while originally designed as anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic missile weapon, the SM-6 has formidable long-range anti-ship capabilities at extended ranges. The combination of the F-35, Aegis and NIFC-CA would allow the Navy to target even the most capable enemy surface combatants (which have formidable air defenses) such as the Russian Project 1144 Orlan-class—better known as the Kirov-class—at range.

“NIFC-CA is a game changer for the U.S. Navy that extends the engagement range we can detect, analyze and intercept targets,” said Dale Bennett, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, said in a statement. “The F-35 and Aegis Weapon System demonstration brings us another step closer to realizing the true potential and power of the worldwide network of these complex systems to protect and support warfighters, the home front and U.S. allies.”

Perhaps more significantly, the F-35/NIFC-CA combination would allow the stealthy Joint Strike Fighter to relay targeting data from inside a zone protected by systems such as the S-400 to the rest of the carrier strike group. While the Navy’s carrier-based F-35C won’t be able to carry an enormous payload, its primary role within the strike group will be to provide the critical targeting data needed for the service’s standoff weapons.

Using the F-35’s targeting data, a Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, Aegis cruiser or even a submarine could launch a long-range missile to eliminate the target. But exactly how the Navy will integrate the F-35 into its operations is a work in progress. “It is still yet to be determined as we continue to learn to integrate these capabilities into the air wing,” Rear Adm. (Upper Half) DeWolfe Miller, the service’s director of air warfare told The National Interest earlier. “I’m very confident in the capabilities of the F-35.”

The recent Navy and Marines Corps test is an important first step toward the air wing of the future. “This test represents the start of our exploration into the interoperability of the F-35B with other naval assets,” said Lt. Col. Richard Rusnok, VMX-1 F-35B detachment officer in charge. “We believe the F-35B will drastically increase the situational awareness and lethality of the naval forces with which it will deploy in the very near future.”

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for the National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.

Source: National Interest “Game Changer: Combining Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and AEGIS Missile Defense”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


11 Comments on “Game Changer: Combining Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and AEGIS Missile Defense”

  1. T-50 says:

    China’s so called quantum Radar is a ripoff of a US radar system developed in 2008. Here is the patent. It was developed by Lockheed Skunkworks.

    “Lockheed Martin’s “spooky radar,” a theoretical technology that uses quantum entanglement and Einstein’s concept of “spooky action at a distance” for a radar with radically advanced capabilities. The radar concept, thought up by scientists at Lockheed’s Skunk Works, became public when Lockheed filed a patent application in Europe.”


  2. Joseph says:

    Sure thing, combining an old steering wheel with a pentagonal-wheeled donkey carts. That’s very smart. Very innovative indeed, for people who got used to have Chinese scientists to innovate for them, now they have to innovate themselves. What next? F-35 with extra propellers for extra speed? Or F-35 with old F-16 ejection seat?
    Somehow it reminisces their precious Roman empire. In its heyday, the Romans wore shiny segmented armors that the American loves to potray in the movie ‘Gladiator’ or ‘Spartacus’. In their waning day after the Vandals and Goths attacks, as cashless empire, they would use any armor they could find, chain armors, leather armors, Gaul armors?even cooking pots for helmet that they could use to cook if they didn’t wear it. Just like the idiots that Xena fought on her TV series. Even in their decline, the American can’t even innovate.


    • R30David says:

      Clearly by your comments you do not understand the significance of networked warfare and the major impact it will have on conflict in Asia. Let just say that as this type of 21th century warfare comes online, China will overnight find its most advanced strategies obsolete. China remains a generation behind.


      • Steve says:

        Clearly, U really need to educate yourself ……….. What do u know about networking warfare. At this moment, China has the fastest networking supercomputer in the world. The Sunway Taihulight is capable of 93 Petaflops or capable of performing 93 quadrillion calculations per second and uses only Chinese processors. The US networking supercomputer is roughly Five times slower and ranked third. These supercomputers can be used in Nuclear explosive activities.

        In other words, The US remains generations behind.


      • Joseph says:

        Yes, please enlighten me. Let’s just say even if you know so much about China’s advanced strategy to be sure it will be one generation behind, how is the American going to pay those expensive stuff? Strategy is not important here, money is.


        • T-50 says:

          The real answer is that F-35 will be operational in 2017 and integrated into the NIFC-CA network allowing the jet to provide over-the-horizon targeting for Aegis cruisers and destroyers to defeat incoming threats. What will China have in 2017?


  3. Steve says:

    Boring Article…. the F-35 achieved Initial Operation Capability recently after 10 years of faulty designs and costs overruns. All the fancy talk of integrated fire control, battleship networking, offset strategy and over the horizon targeting and defeating new threats will have little or no effect against China’s Quantum radar pioneering technology, as it will detect stealth hundreds of miles away. Just like China’s DF41, the Quantum Radar is a stealth killer in detecting naval warships and stealth aircraft.


    • R30David says:

      At this point China’s so called Quantum radar technology remains just a concept that is no where near operational capability. Further The US navy is busy sailing the advanced DDG 1000 for deployment in the Pacific. DDG 1000 represents cutting-edge technologies packaged in a hull with significant new capabilities. More importantly DDG 1000 is but a node in the new networked strategy of warfare that combines the F-35, drones, and undersea assets into a total fighting package able to respond to challenges from China. Finally with Japan and Australia purchasing F-35 the combat network grows larger and more effective. The headaches for China grow larger daily.


      • Steve says:

        Clearly at this point Ignorance is your best friend. U need to research and learn more before posting. Russia calls this DDG1000 a Giant Washtub. China’s superior 055 Cruiser has caused US to scrap its DDG1000 plan to be replaced by decades old Arleigh Burke 051 and modified Virginia class submarines. Why..? To keep it real short, the Zumwalt don’t even possess X and S band radars. China’s 055 Cruisers has much longer striking supersonic missiles than this giant washtub DDG1000 and can shoot down satellites blinding warships. US originally planned to build 32 DDG1000, now down to 3 because the Zumwalt has being surpassed by China’s 055 superior cruiser. Like most things US, are designed faults, cost overruns and selling gimmicks overstating its potential.

        As for the US stealth bird F-35, is better known in its scientific name as ‘Meleagris Gallopavo’
        commonly known TURKEY. The US need to sell its Turkey to allies to save cost overruns. Don’t believe what U heard, U need to research into this “Old Turkey Buzzard.”

        China’s Quantum Satellite Communication Technology is already in its pre initial operation. This non hackable communication technology is beyond the average American science. Lets drop a few levels…As early as 2014, China’s JY-26 radar and DWL002 Anti Stealth Radar Systems will render the US F-22 and F-35 obsolete, even the US don’t have such incredible breakthrough technologies. Why are the US Not using the F-22 to roam the East China Sea and South China Sea skies.? Because it already has been detected. The US heart aches are growing larger. I shall stop here and not waste my time. Please educate your ignorance.


        • T-50 says:

          A couple of points regarding your response:

          If the F-35 is such a turkey then why is China spending so much time and money trying to clone their version of a F-35? The J-18.

          China and Russia fear the DDG-1000 with all the advanced features it brings to sea.

          “Despite its size, the warship is 50 times harder to detect than current destroyers thanks to its angular shape and other design features, and its stealth could improve even more once testing equipment is removed, said Capt. James Downey, program manager.”

          You can bet that even though the Russians and Chinese criticize the DDG 1000, they are busy trying to design their next generation of surface warship to have aspects of the DDG-1000. Watch and see!


          • Steve says:

            That Author Yasir Faheem can’t even write with clarity because his notes are sourced from elsewhere. He can’t even make up his mind what he is trying to represent and U got sucked in like an illiterate old man.

            I will not waste my time replying to ill informed participants. It’s best for you to stick around for a while and learn off the Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements besides your own research. Good bye and Good luck.

            “As for your above post, do not advertise your ignorance…Quantum Mechanics (QM) or Quantum Physics or Quantum Theory has being around since late 1800s to 1900s and now 2000s. Scientists from around the world has being researching into this very difficult field of Physics. It so happens that the Chinese Scientist are at the forefront of one of science’s most challenging fields known as Quantum Satellite Communication Technology.”

            Stop Ripping off your Old Head. There is nothing for U to be jealous, U are not a scientist.


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