Skip to comments.Newly Revealed Experiment Shows How F-35 Could Help Intercept ICBMs
Posted on 12/07/2017 1:42:53 PM PST by Thistooshallpass9
In 2014, the sensor-studded plane demonstrated an ability to track missiles, leading to a tactically significant improvement in targeting.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., raised more than a few eyebrows (and drew a few rolled eyes) when he suggested in November that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could intercept North Korean missiles headed for the United States. Hunter cited analysis from Los Alamos National Labs and other sources, according to Inside Defense.
Turns out the F-35 may be an ICBM buster after all, or at least be helpful toward that end. On Tuesday, Northrop Grumman called a small group of journalists to its offices in Linthicum, Maryland, to show the results of a 2014 experiment conducted with the Missile Defense Agency, or MDA.
The U.S. has no foolproof way to down a North Korean ICBM. Physics says the best opportunity comes during boost phase, as the rocket is leaving the launch pad. But DPRK anti-aircraft defenses make it difficult for the U.S. to get a weapon close enough to do any good. Thats why the Pentagon is looking at elaborate, futuristic concepts like arming drones with missile-killing lasers.
But the F-35 is studded with sensors like no other aircraft, including the Distributed Aperture System, or DAS, a half-dozen 17-pound electro-optical and infrared sensors. These feed a helmet-mounted display that allows the pilot to effectively see through the plane and spot incoming aircraft and missiles.
In October 2014, Northrop and MDA launched FTX-20, an experiment to see, among other things, whether the DAS could track an enemy ICBM. They took data from the sensors, ran it through algorithms developed by Northrop and MDAs Enterprise Sensor Lab, generated a 3D-moving picture of the missiles trajectory, and conveyed it over the Link 16 tactical data exchange. This kind of targeting data can help cue the U.S. Navys anti-ballistic missile destroyers or short- and intermediate-range missile defenses like the Armys Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile battery deployed in South Korea.
The problem I see is that the F-35, or any other aircraft, would likely need to be airborne and very close to the target to have any chance. That means they would need to be positioned in an orbit waiting for the launch. That means repeated refueling and lots of aircraft in a rotating cycle covering many cities.
From 45,000 feet the F-35 can be offshore Norklandia on their east coast and see every square meter of the country.
They can then uplink the data via high speed Link-16 (through it’s radar) to every targeting, tracking and shooting system in theater.
From the very moment the candle lights.
It also has enough speed that if we have a dozen or more up around the country, somebody might be able to shoot a missile down before it goes over 20,000 feet.
Whatever happened to the Strategic Defense Initiative? Reagan’s prescient solution to ICBM’s that the Left ridiculed......
Tracking is one thing.
Shooting down a missile capable of traveling to any point on the Earth is quite another. You probably need to fire some hyper-sonic missile at it withing about 30 seconds of lift-off, and then actually hit it withing about 90 seconds of lift-off, or the bird has gone bye-bye forever. This is HIGHLY improbable. Every single variable would have to align 100% ideally in order to do this. I’m of the belief that this is, practically speaking, impossible.
A laser weapon would be very fast.
It became Missile Defense Agency, MDA. I used to work at SDIO.
To be effective those systems named must be in the target area - they are no good against a missile aimed elsewhere, like Guam or the US. Only the system in AK has a prayer of hitting a NOKO US bound missile ... all 20 existing missile would be quickly overwhelmed by any actual effort especially by MIRVed ICBMs
“A laser weapon would be very fast.”
I know that we’re working on lasers for ships, tanks and aircraft, but at least the publicly available information is that none of them will be ready for prime time for 5-10 years. As far as shooting down an ICBM, I’d think that the time frame is even further away - you want to be SURE that your laser is very reliable, can make multiple shots and has a 90% or greater possibility of inflicting a kill on your target.
Contrary to the movies, or science fiction, we haven’t yet reached the stage of being able to reliably (95%+) shoot down ICBMs. Until and unless we get there (and I say “unless” because there are a variety of counter-measures that an enemy WILL take to decrease your odds of successfully downing their missile), we have to rely on the old fashioned virtues of deterrence.
Doubt we have a missile that could catch an ICBM let alone hit - those things hit 18,000 mph
lasers have to have on target time & ICBMs are going over 10000 mph and on to 18000 mph ... we likely do not have anything that can keep on a target at those speeds.
That is of course if they are building their own nuke & rocket...
“Doubt we have a missile that could catch an ICBM let alone hit - those things hit 18,000 mph”
But I was corrected by an old missiler recently and he said ICBM don’t hit those high speeds until they are well clear of the atmosphere.
Below 20,000 feet they are barely supersonic. Below 40,000 feet they are under 2,000mph.
They can be hit if you’re close.
Shooting down a missile capable of traveling to any point on the Earth is quite another. You probably need to fire some hyper-sonic missile at it withing about 30 seconds of lift-off, and then actually hit it withing about 90 seconds of lift-off, or the bird has gone bye-bye forever. This is HIGHLY improbable. Every single variable would have to align 100% ideally in order to do this. Im of the belief that this is, practically speaking, impossible.
Shooting down a missile/satellite with an air-launched missile dates back to the mid-80’s -
Technology has progressed in leaps and bounds since then.
I didn’t say it was new or impossible, just difficult. Everything has to work just right. Yes, we’d be better now than 30 years ago, but it still isn’t easy.
It is also one tool, part of a multi-layered defense. I do hope that we pursue it, vigorously, but let’s just be realistic.
There was a plan to shoot down ICBMs with a missile from a fighter. I flew may demo attacks for the brass. It required a bit of precise flying and you had to be strategically placed along the flight path, but it was very doable. Of course it is a huge pain in the butt (quite literally) to fly racetracks in the sky just waiting for a missile to be launched.
Revert to the old school approach. Upgrade the interceptor warhead such that close is good enough to fry the target.
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