The U.S. Air Force is using “open air” ranges and computer simulation to practice F-35 combat missions against Chinese and Russian air-defense technologies, officials said.
The testing is designed to prepare the Lockheed Martin Corp.-made aircraft, known as the Joint Strike Fighter, for current and future threats, according to Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, Director of the F-35 Integration Office.
Back in 2001, when the JSF program started, the threats were mostly European-centric and took the form of older Russian surface-to-air missile systems, or SAMs, known in NATO reporting as SA-10s or SA-20s, Harrigian said. Now, the threat picture is evolving, he said.
“They have got these digital SAMs out there that can change frequencies and they are very agile in how they operate," Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, director of the F-35 Integration Office, told Scout Warrior in an interview. "Being able to replicate that is not easy."
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