[Ed. – Will certainly have to watch to see how this one shakes out. The F-35 has plenty of issues already. Not sure adding an exotic new mission is the highest-payoff course here. Somehow, the performance art with which NATO ally Turkey welcomed the F-35 last year seems especially appropriate for the feature illustration.]
The Pentagon’s new missile defense strategy unveiled last week reveals plans to deploy an advanced anti-missile interceptor on the new F-35 jet that can be used to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The new SM-3 Block IIA interceptor, originally intended for use from Aegis missile defense ships, will be used as a backup for the current 44 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs) now deployed in Alaska and California. Those interceptors, along with sensors around the world and in space, can counter North Korean long-range missiles and expected Iranian ICBMs, as well some Chinese or Russian missiles in the event of a major war.