(Washington D.C.) The Pentagon is working with industry to explore the possibility that bomb, missile or laser-armed F-35s could destroy an attacking nuclear-armed Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) targeting the US, potentially bringing a new dimension to existing defenses.
The concept, according to industry and Pentagon developers, would be to use F-35 weapons and sensors to detect or destroy an ICBM launch during its initial “boost” phase of upward flight toward the boundary of the earth’s atmosphere. The F-35 could use a “kinetic” solution wherein it fires upon and destroys a launching ICBM -- or a “sensor” solution where it “cues missile defense systems.”
While Pentagon F-35 officials emphasize the F-35 program is currently focused on nearer-term efforts such as delivering software upgrades to the airplane, there is growing consensus that exploring F-35 nuclear missile defense is something of great potential benefit. Early conversations and conceptual work are already underway...
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