The troubled single-engine, all-weather, stealth, fifth-generation F-35 fighter recently successfully demonstrated its ability to transmit live tracking data to the US Army’s Integrated Air and Missiles Defense Battle Command System (IBCS).
The milestone in the fighter jet’s program was marked June 2019 during the Orange Flag Evaluation 19-2 at Palmdale, California, and Fort Bliss, Texas, according to Defense News, which noted that the accomplishment cements the system's ability to detect threats unnoticed by ground-based sensors.
Aviation Week reports that the demonstration marks the first time that “live F-35 track data” was transmitted to the IBCS while using both an F-35 ground station and the aircraft’s IBCS adaption kit, which was developed by aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin, the F-35’s manufacturer.
“This demonstration represents a significant growth in capability for the Army IAMD [Integrated Air and Missile Defense] program and Army for multi-domain operations. The capability creates additional battlespace awareness, and the ability to track incoming targets and take action, if necessary,” Scott Arnold, Lockheed’s deputy of integrated air and missile defense, said in a statement.
“The F-35, with its advanced sensors and connectivity, is able to gather and seamlessly share critical information, enabling greater joint force protection and a higher level of lethality of Army IAMD forces.”
The IBCS, which was originally created to connect various types of radars and missile launchers used by the US Army, is expected to undergo a “limited user test” sometime in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020, according to Defense News.