Navy, USMC, & Lockheed Martin complete demonstration with F-35 and Aegis Weapon System
WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, New Mexico. U.S Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and Lockheed Martin collaborated in a live fire test using the F-35 Lightening II and Aegis Weapon System demonstrating the integration of the F-35 to support Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA).
During the exercise, 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. Officials say, the F-35B sent data through the aircraft’s Multi-Function Advanced Data Link (MADL) to a ground station connected to the Aegis Weapon System on a land-based ship, the USS Desert Ship (LLS-1). The exercise resulted with an Standard Missile 6 engaging and intercepting the target.
One key attribute of the 5th Generation fighter is the force multiplier effect it brings to joint operations through its sensor fusion and external communications capabilities, says Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
The idea, according to Lockheed Martin officials, is to increase situational awareness using Aegis and the F-35 together to better understand the maritime operational environment. While the goal of this test was to prove the compatibility of these systems within existing NIFC-CA architecture, Navy officials state, this future capability will extend the Navy’s engagement range to detect, analyze, and intercept targets in operational settings. 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.
“NIFC-CA is a game changer for the U.S. Navy that extends the engagement range we can detect, analyze, and intercept targets,” says Dale Bennett, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems.
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