Electronic Weapons: July 24, 2000


Lockheed-Martin is studying special variants of its Joint Strike Fighter design that could carry electronic warfare systems or a combat laser. One key is that the 181-cubic-foot cavity designed to hold the lift fan for the vertical take-off version could hold any number of advanced systems. The drawback is that the Marines want these systems for their short-take-off variant, which would not have that 181 cubic feet available. A laser-armed version could destroy cruise missiles, aircraft, artillery rockets, and possibly even spacecraft. It could not function below 50,000 feet due to atmospheric effects. Operating at lower altitudes would limit the range of the laser; such an attack might be launched by a laser-armed Cruise missile which can be risked closer to the target.--Stephen V Cole




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