The Military Wants to Use F-35s to Shoot Down Nuclear Missiles

Hopefully we never have to test it with an actual nuke.

Dan Robitzski January 21st 2019

Pew Pew Pew!

The Pentagon recently announced that the F-35, the stealth fighter plane that President Trump seems to think is literally invisible, may soon be equipped with new weapons specifically intended to take down nuclear missiles.

As described in the Pentagon’s official Missile Defense Review from last Thursday, The anti-nuke F-35s would join other measures designed to disable and protect from intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) such as laser-equipped drones as well as orbital sensors that can spot and intercept ICBMs after they’ve been launched.

Okay But

It‘s far-fetched to imagine a fighter plane successfully shooting down a missile that travels, at its slowest, 6.5 kilometers per second. The pilot would need to already be near the site of the missile launch, know that it’s going to happen, and operate with a near-zero margin of error, according to Motherboard.

To borrow the words of the fictional character Zoë Washburne from the TV show “Firefly,” it would be like “like throwing a dart” and “hitting a bulls-eye 6,000 miles away.”

The Rub

Thankfully the Pentagon envisions anti-nuke F-35s as a complement, not a replacement, for existing nuclear defense systems. These proposed anti-ICBM F-35s mainly complicate what the F-35, first deployed in combat last Fall, is supposed to be.

As Motherboard points out, different branches of the military have different visions of what the F-35 should do, specifically catered to that branch’s needs. And now, apparently, it’s also supposed to stop any potential hostile nukes.

Source: “The Military Wants to Use F-35s to Shoot Down Nuclear Missiles”

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


TV Footage of China’s Midcourse ICBM Interception Missile

China's midcourse ICBM interception missile

China’s midcourse ICBM interception missile

As far back as on January 28, 2013, I had a post on China’s midcourse ICBM interception tests titled “” stating:

China tested emerging military technology aimed at destroying missiles in mid-air after an initial test in 2010, state media said on Sunday (January 27, 2013), in a move that will unnerve its neighbors.

A brief report by the official Xinhua news agency said the military carried out a “land-based mid-course missile interception test within its territory”.

“The test has reached the pre-set goal,” the report quoted an unnamed Defence Ministry official as saying.

That was China’s second successful midcourse interception test.

I had a post the next day on a Chinese missile expert’s view that in spite of the two successes, China lagged behind the US in midcourse interception technology.

Later, on July 16, 2013 and February 11, 2014, I had two posts respectively titled “China’s Multi-layer Anti-missile System with Copies of Russian Anti-missile radar” and “Bare the Mystery of China’s Anti-Missile Intercept System” on China’s anti-ICBM system.

I have followed China’s development of ICBM interception closely and described China’s third and fourth ICBM interception tests respectively in my posts titled “China’s Third Successful Test of ICBM Interception” on July 24, 2014 and “Suspected 4th Test of China’s Midcourse ICBM Interception” on May 25, 2015.

Reuters says in its report today titled “China says pressing ahead with own anti-missile system”, “China’s Defence Ministry confirmed on Thursday that it was pressing ahead with anti-missile system tests after pictures appeared on state television, amid anger at South Korea’s decision to deploy an advanced U.S. anti-missile system.”

In fact state television showed footage of the tests in its report on the achievements China’s missile interception research team headed by Chen Deming. Chen has been conducting the research for 26 years. The footage in Chinese can be viewed at is China’s official military forum where we can find official information about China’s weapon development.

The footage is contained in the website’s report in Chinese titled “China perhaps adopts KKV (kinetic kill vehicle) technology in midcourse ICBM interception, a technology only China and the US master”. I only give a summary of the report and do not translate the footage.

Still the website’s report describes the interception missile in quite details and posts a picture of it. However, there are much more images of the missile in the footage in the report. According to the report, the missile is a three-stage one shorter than its US counterpart and is carried on an eight-wheel cross-country vehicle similar to the launcher vehicle of HQ-9 air defense missiles.

The report says that so far only China, the US and Israel have midcourse ICBM interception systems. Israel has obtained the technology from the US while China has developed its system entirely independently. Its DN series midcourse interception missiles are similar to US GMD the only midcourse ICBM interception system the US has. US Aegis system can only intercept intermediate ballistic missile instead of ICBM.

As for the question whether China made public of its anti-ICBM system in response of the deployment of THAAD, Chinese experts do not think so. They believe it will be better response for China to showcase some attack system such as hypersonic flying vehicle or advanced ballistic missiles.

Source: “China perhaps adopts KKV (kinetic kill vehicle) technology in midcourse ICBM interception, a technology only China and the US master” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

Source: Reuters “China says pressing ahead with own anti-missile system”, full text of which can be viewed at