US Navy, Marines test integration potential of F-35s and Aegis system

The U.S. Marine’s F-35 Lightning II and the Navy’s Aegis air and missile defense weapon system worked together for the first time during a live fire exercise.

According to Lockheed Martin, the company involved in the production of both systems, the event successfully demonstrated the integration of the F-35 to support Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA).

During the September 12 test, 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 (MADL) 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.

“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 an open architecture system on U.S. destroyers and is the basis for current and future Aegis Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD). 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.