F-35, SM-6 Participate in Navy Cruise Missile Defense Test

A Monday September 12, 2016 test at White Sands Missile Range demonstrated the ability for an F-35 to pass data to the Aegis Combat System through the Navy Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air, resulting in the successful intercept of a cruise missile target with a Standard Missile-6. The F-35 used its own sensors to pick up the target and send information through a Multifunction Advanced Data Link back to the Baseline 9 Aegis Combat System, which was then able to launch an SM-6. The test proves one element of the NIFC-CA concept, which would tie together all of the sensors in a carrier strike group to enable better engagement with incoming air and missile targets. The ability to use off-board sensors also extends the reach of ships equipped with SM-6 missiles, allowing them to launch-on-remote rather than wait for adversary missiles to enter the ship’s radar field. This expands the battlespace for these ships to intercept incoming adversary missiles and allows the full use of the long-range interceptors’ capabilities.