Kim Jong-Un thought his country’s nuclear weapons made his regime untouchable.

He calculated that the United States would accept his rule as long as he could threaten the West with nuclear annihilation.

But Secretary of Defense James Mattis has one ace up his sleeve that spells the end for Kim Jong-Un.

Previously, it was thought that missile defense technology was America’s only defense against a North Korean ICBM.

The United States has been working to perfect the technology, but it is not yet a full proof defense.

But there is another form of missile defense that Kim Jong-Un never counted on.

The F-35 fighter could be used to intercept an ICBM.

Defense One reports:

“Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., raised more than a few eyebrows (and drew a few rolled eyes) when he suggested in November that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could intercept North Korean missiles headed for the United States. Hunter cited analysis from Los Alamos National Labs and other sources, according to Inside Defense.

Turns out the F-35 may be an ICBM buster after all, or at least be helpful toward that end. On Tuesday, Northrop Grumman called a small group of journalists to its offices in Linthicum, Maryland, to show the results of a 2014 experiment conducted with the Missile Defense Agency, or MDA.”

The F-35’s sensors are so advanced that they can spot enemy missiles.

This information can then be transferred to missile defense systems and used to track the weapon.

Getting an interceptor close to an ICBM has always been an issue, but the F-35’s advanced sensors represented a breakthrough on this front.

Defense One also reports:

In October 2014, Northrop and MDA launched FTX-20, an experiment to see, among other things, whether the DAS could track an enemy ICBM. They took data from the sensors, ran it through algorithms developed by Northrop and MDA’s Enterprise Sensor Lab, generated a 3D-moving picture of the missile’s trajectory, and conveyed it over the Link 16 tactical data exchange. This kind of targeting data can help cue the U.S. Navy’s anti-ballistic missile destroyers or short- and intermediate-range missile defenses like the Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile battery deployed in South Korea.

The F-35 sensors aren’t meant to replace the infrared satellites that detect launches, or the  sea-based X-Band Radar that can feed targeting data about missile launches to destroyers. Rather, Northrop officials said, the DAS data would help the other missile-defense gear get a targeting track on a missile more quickly, improving the odds of nailing the shot. (You also need two of them in the air for triangulation.)

“That information can go straight to the Patriot [missile system], THAAD, or anywhere else, who has communication with that platform,” John “Bama” Montgomery, a business development manager at Northrop’s ISR & Targeting Division, said on Tuesday. “You can give that information to a shooter. That shooter now has information to go and put his information in the right place. Thus the radar doesn’t have to search. It goes, ‘I know where it is; it’s right there.’”

The end result is a “tactically significant” improvement in targeting, Montgomery said. Just how significant? It took several years to figure that out, and that’s one reason why the news is only being released now. “We wanted to get our understanding of how this could change the battlefield. We’ve since done a series of modeling and [simulation] events and teamed with other governmental partners and industry.”

We will keep you up to date on any new developments with North Korea.