The sensors of F-35 stealth jets that were integrated with the US Army’s new Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS), helped the latter engage multiple airborne targets simultaneously.
Held in December 2019, it is the first use of F-35s as sensors at an IBCS live fire test to detect, track and intercept near simultaneous air-breathing threats.
“Two US Air Force F-35s were integrated with the US Army’s IBCS providing an airborne sensor capability to successfully detect, track and intercept near simultaneous air-breathing threats in a test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico,” Lockheed Martin said in a statement Tuesday.
“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.
“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,” Ulmer asserted.
Linking F-35s to IBCS via the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) provided enhanced situational awareness and weapons-quality track data to engage airborne targets. The proof of concept demonstration used experimental equipment developed by Lockheed Martin, including the Harvest Lightning Ground Station and IBCS adaptation kit (A-Kit).
“This demonstrates a capability to defeat threats that are terrain masked or beyond ground-based sensor detection capabilities due to terrain and curvature of the earth,” said Jay Pitman, vice president, Lower Tier Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.