U.S. Navy links Standard Missile-6 with F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in first-of-a-kind flight test
Raytheon multi-mission missile teams with next-gen aircraft to destroy over-the-horizon target
In a first-of-its-kind engagement, a Raytheon Standard Missile-6 linked with an F-35 fighter destroyed a medium-range, medium-altitude, subsonic target.
The USS Desert Ship (LLS 1), a land-based U.S. Navy Combat System equipped with the latest AEGIS Baseline, fired the SM-6, which intercepted the over-the-horizon target, out of sight of its operators.
The mission was the latest in a test series for Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air, or NIFC-CA, a program designed to link U.S. Navy ships and various 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 demonstrates the multi-dimensional capability provided by pairing the NIFC-CA system and the multi-mission SM-6," said Mike Campisi, SM-6 senior program director. "By linking SM-6 with airborne sensors on the F-35 or other aircraft through NIFC-CA, we help to dominate the combat environment and defeat the threat."
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.
In April 2015, Raytheon delivered the first full-rate production SM-6 from its $75-million, 70,000-square-foot SM-6 and Standard Missile-3 all-up-round production facility at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. Raytheon has currently delivered more than 300 SM-6 missiles with continuing production.