F-35s integrate with Army missile defense for battle concept
The US Army and Air Force F-35s teamed up in New Mexico to test just how well the new plane’s sensor suites could work with missile defense systems.
On January 21, Lockheed Martin announced that the proof-of-concept test was a success, using F-35s as manned sensors during an Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) live-fire test against multiple airborne targets.
Twenty years after the F-35 first took flight in prototype form, the world has changed dramatically- old enemies such as the former Soviet Union (now the Russian Federation) and China have gained considerable power, and are spending much more on defense projects.
Despite this, the F-35 has proven to be capable, and not just as a strike aircraft: its unique and advanced sensor suite allows data to be collected and relayed to allied assets across the battlefield.
One thing near-peer enemies favor more than their American counterparts is anti-air and anti-ship missile systems, which the Army is hoping to crack using a technique known as “Multi-Domain Operations.”
“The F-35’s advanced sensors and connectivity enable it to gather, analyze and seamlessly share critical information with the joint fighting force to lead the multi-domain battlespace,” said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of the F-35 program, in a statement to The Epoch Times. “This test validated the F-35’s capability to serve as an airborne sensor and extend the range of critical Integrated Air and Missile Defense interceptors.”
So while the F-35 is nowhere as tough or CAS-capable as the venerable A-10 Thunderbolt II it is often compared to (though the ‘Hog will remain an asset for some time), it is certainly “smarter,” and gives ground units more of an edge than brute force can often provide.
Another advantage to the system is that modern US doctrine does not rely on centralized command systems, and having a data suite flying around can easily allow US forces to flex and improvise, should the central command be wiped out or cut off from its forces.
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