Defense

September 14, 2016
 

F-35, Aegis Combat System successfully demonstrate integration potential

A Standard Missile 6 launches to engage an over-the-horizon threat as part of the U.S. Navy’s first live fire demonstration to successfully test the integration of the F-35 with existing Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) architecture. During the test, an unmodified U.S. Marine Corps F-35B acted as an elevated sensor to send data through its Multi-Function Advanced Data Link to a ground station connected to USS Desert Ship (LLS 1), a land-based launch facility designed to simulate a ship at sea.

Two pre-eminent weapon systems, the F-35 Lightning II and Aegis Weapon System, worked together for the first time during a live fire exercise.

The joint Lockheed Martin, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps exercise was the first live fire missile event that successfully demonstrated the integration  of the F-35 to support Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air.

During the Sept. 12 test at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., an unmodified U.S. Marine Corps F-35B from the Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1, acted as an elevated sensor and detected an over-the-horizon threat. The F-35B sent data through the aircraft’s Multi-Function Advanced Data Link to a ground station connected to the Aegis Weapon System on the USS Desert Ship (LLS-1), a land-based ship. The target was subsequently engaged and intercepted by a Standard Missile 6.

This graphic illustration depicts the U.S. Navy’s first live fire demonstration to successfully test the integration of the F-35 with existing Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) architecture. During the test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, Sept. 12, an unmodified U.S. Marine Corps F-35B acted as an elevated sensor to detect an over-the-horizon threat. The aircraft then sent data through its Multi-Function Advanced Data Link to a ground station connected to USS Desert Ship (LLS 1), a land-based launch facility designed to simulate a ship at sea. Using the latest Aegis Weapon System Baseline 9.C1 and a Standard Missile 6, the system successfully detected and engaged the target.

The joint Lockheed Martin, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps exercise was the first live fire missile event that successfully demonstrated the integration  of the F-35 to support Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air.

During the Sept. 12 test at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., an unmodified U.S. Marine Corps F-35B from the Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1, acted as an elevated sensor and detected an over-the-horizon threat. The F-35B sent data through the aircraft’s Multi-Function Advanced Data Link to a ground station connected to the Aegis Weapon System on the USS Desert Ship (LLS-1), a land-based ship. The target was subsequently engaged and intercepted by a Standard Missile 6.

“One of the key defining attributes of a 5th Generation fighter is the force multiplier effect it brings to joint operations through its foremost sensor fusion and external communications capabilities,” said Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “Those attributes were successfully proven at White Sands Missile Range in a very realistic demonstration of distributed lethality leveraging a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B and the U.S. Navy’s Aegis Weapon System. This only scratches the surface of the potential warfighting capabilities F-35 aircraft will ultimately enable across our military forces.”

This capability, when fully realized, will significantly increase the warfighters’ situational awareness using Aegis and the F-35 together to better understand the maritime operational environment. Using any variant of the F-35 as a broad area sensor, the aircraft can significantly increase the Aegis capability to detect, track and engage.

An F-35B Lightning II prepares to take-off aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. The take-off was performed as part of training operations conducted to further enhance the pilot’s capabilities. The F-35B is the short take-off and vertical landing variant of the jet which uses a jet propulsion system to execute the landing. The aircraft is with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501.

“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. “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.”

Aegis Baseline 9 delivers a fully open architecture system on U.S. destroyers and is the basis for current and future Aegis Integrated Air and Missile Defense. Baseline 9 is being fielded on in-service destroyers, new construction destroyers and Aegis Ashore. The Aegis Common Source Library-enabled derivatives are on the Coast Guard cutters, Freedom variant Littoral Combat Ships and will be included on the upcoming frigate ships.




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