The F-35 Is Getting Ready to Fight Russia’s Stealth Fighter and China’s J-20

    Kris Osborn

    Security,

    A big update is coming. 

    Block IV will also increase the weapons envelope for the U.S. variant of the fighter jet. A big part of the developmental calculus for Block 4 is to work on the kinds of enemy air defense systems and weaponry the aircraft may face from the 2020’s through the 2040’s and beyond.

    The Air Force is now adding new information about enemy aircraft to the F-35’s “threat library” database designed to precisely identify enemy aircraft operating in different high-risk areas around the globe – such as a Chinese J-20 stealth fighter or Russian T-50 PAK FA 5th Gen fighter, service leaders said.

    Described as the brains of the airplane, the “mission data files” are extensive on-board data systems compiling information on geography, air space and potential threats in areas where the F-35 might be expected to perform combat operations, Air Force officials explained.

    “New threat changes are monitored and incorporated into updated mission data files based on the established priorities. Mission Data Files have been fielded to the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force, in support of operations, test, training and exercises,” Maj. Emily Grabowski, Air Force spokeswoman, told Warrior Maven.

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    Consisting of hardware and software, the mission data files are essentially a database of known threats and friendly aircraft in specific parts of the world. The files continue to be worked on at a reprogramming laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Air Force officials said.

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