Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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F-35 Guides Surface-to-Air Missile to Shoot Down Aerial Target in First-of-a-Kind Test

Networked warfare

(Photo : Raytheon) F-35 using NIFC-CA to guide a SAM.

In a first-of-its-kind engagement, a RIM-174 Standard Extended Range Active Missile (ERAM), or Standard Missile-6 (SM-6), linked to an F-35 stealth fighter destroyed a medium-range, medium-altitude subsonic target flying beyond the horizon.

The USS Desert Ship (LLS 1), a concrete blockhouse located at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico and equipped with the latest AEGIS Baseline, fired the Raytheon-made SM-6 that intercepted the target out of sight of its operators. "LLS" stands for "Land Locked Ship."

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The mission was the latest in a test series for "Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air" (NIFC-CA), a program designed to link U.S. Navy ships and airborne sensors such as the F-35 into a single integrated sensor network.

During this capability demonstration, the SM-6 received continuous updates from the network, including the fighter aircraft, leading to the successful intercept of the target.

This test once again demonstrated the multi-dimensional capability provided by pairing the NIFC-CA system and the multi-mission SM-6. By linking SM-6 with airborne sensors on the F-35 or other aircraft through NIFC-CA, U.S. aircraft can dominate combat and defeat threats.

SM-6 provides U.S. Navy vessels with extended-range protection against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of flight, and an offensive capability against surface targets. It was designed for extended range anti-air warfare.

In April 2015, Raytheon delivered the first full-rate production SM-6 and Standard Missile-3. Raytheon has delivered more than 300 SM-6 missiles with continuing production.

SM-6 delivers proven over-the-horizon, air defense and uses both active and semi-active guidance modes and advanced fuzing techniques. It delivers multi-mission capability for long range Fleet Air Defense, Sea-Based Terminal Defense, and Anti-Surface Warfare.

The missile is also capable of terminal ballistic missile defense as a supplement to the Standard Missile 3 (RIM-161). It incorporates the advanced signal processing and guidance control capabilities from Raytheon's Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile.

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