JSF for BMD?
1:48 PM on Jul 23, 2010
Amy Butler writes:
The Joint Strike Fighter distributed aperture system (DAS) could be useful for ballistic missile defense, according to Tom Burbage, executive vice president of F-35 program integration at Lockheed Martin.
During a recent flight of the system on Northrop Grumman’s BAC-111 test bed near Baltimore, Md., the EO/IR system captured the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from 650 mi. away. Burbage dropped that little nugget during his JSF briefing for reporters July 19 at the Farnborough Air Show.
To be fair, he notes that missile defense is not currently a mission for JSF. But, during an interview later with Aviation Week, he said that the sensor capabilities of the aircraft could be useful for this role.
Though likely not his intent, I couldn't help but think back to those grim days when the U.S. Air Force was desperately trying for 350 F-22s. And one general came up with the bumper sticker slogan that the F-22 should be labeled the F/B/EA/RC-22 because of its sophisticated sensor capabilities.
Still, it is true that the Missile Defense Agency is looking for an airborne infrared UAS capable of early ballistic missile detection. The theory is if a threat is captured earlier in boost, an SM-3 could be launched sooner and intercept earlier in flight.
There is much architecture work to be done to make this happen, but perhaps the DAS - not the platform - could help in detection.
farn10 jsf bmd abir mda