Lockheed Martin IRST Confirmed for U.S. Navy Super Hornet Fleet

AIN Defense Perspective » September 12, 2011
The infrared search and track system will be carried at the front of the cent
The infrared search and track system will be carried at the front of the centerline fuel tank on U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, as shown here. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)
September 12, 2011, 4:55 AM

Boeing gained a $135 million contract to add the Lockheed Martin infrared search and track (IRST) system to the U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fleet by 2015. According to Lockheed Martin, the long-wave system can detect airborne threats with 40 times more accuracy than radar at maximum detection ranges, while offering a comparable scan volume. The sensor will be carried at the front of the Super Hornet’s centerline fuel tank, a “cost effective location” according to Boeing. This installation was first demonstrated on a Super Hornet test aircraft at NAS Patuxent River in 2009.

The IRST is a new-generation version of the AAS-42 that was carried by the now-retired U.S. Navy F-14D Tomcat. Because they are passive systems, IRSTs feature prominently as part of the sensor system on fourth-generation European and Russian fighters. The Lockheed Martin IRST forms part of the sensor suite on the F-15K and F-15SG Strike Eagles sold to Korea and Singapore, and is also being added to U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagles. For potential international F/A-18E/F customers, Boeing is offering a chin-mounted version of the IRST.

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