Thursday, August 24, 2017

First Line of Missile Defense

F-35s could probably shoot down North Korean nuclear missiles as they are launched and the North Koreans would never know the planes are there.

This is an interesting evaluation of the F-35(quoting Aviation Week):

Without assistance from China or Russia, North Korea would stand no chance of defending against a wave of low-observable Joint Strike Fighters, which would be used to clear the air of opposing jets, hunt down rogue missiles, and protect advancing ground troops. The stealth jets would be virtually unopposed by Pyongyang's outdated inventory of former Soviet and independently developed radars and surface-to-air missiles.

That could make the F-35 the first line of defense in case North Korea launches nuclear missiles.

I mentioned fighter aircraft over the launch site as the first line of a layered defense for shooting down a missile. With stealth aircraft, the North Koreans apparently won't even know we are there.

Of course, that's expensive and difficult to maintain 24/7. But it could be useful in a crisis.

And it would be very useful as part of an attack campaign that bombs North Korea's nuclear missiles and facilities, in order to deal with any missiles we miss or didn't know about.

Better to bomb a ballistic missile on the ground, but if it launches we'd have a shot at dropping the nuclear mess back down on their heads.

UPDATE: The Air Force says the F-35A is ready to deploy. It should appear in the Pacific soon.

The Marine F-35B is already based in Japan.