The F-35B Just Got A Lot Deadlier - Defense One: The F-35 now packs more punch: specifically, the 20-foot Standard Missile, or SM-6, complete with a 140-pound warhead. But not fired from under the wing — rather from a nearby Aegis destroyer.
In September, the Marines completed a proof-of-concept test in which a Marine Corps F-35B detected a cruise-missile decoy (a drone), passed targeting information to a remote sensor, and set up a shot by an Aegis combat system of the sort you’ll find on modern destroyers. A battery controlled by the Aegis fired a live SM-6 missile, which took down the drone.
“It was a metal-on-metal engagement from a significant range. I would say more than a tactically significant range. It was a very, very impressive shot to see,” Lt. Col. Richard “BC” Rusnok told reporters aboard the amphibious assault ship America, where the Marines are conducting tests with the vertical-lift F-35B. The test took place at White Sands, New Mexico, aboard the USS Desert Ship facility that the Navy uses for missile tests there.
The process of selecting the target and then launching a missile to take it out was virtually automatic, said Rusnok.
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