Lockeed Martin Unveils 'Legion Pod' for F-15, F-16 Retrofit

 - February 23, 2015, 9:44 AM
Lockheed Martin developed the multi-function Legion Pod for the F-15C and F-16 retrofit market. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin unveiled an internally funded multi-function sensor pod for F-15C and F-16 retrofits that incorporates its new infrared search and track (IRST) system. The Legion Pod supports collaborative targeting between multiple aircraft in radar-denied environments, the company said.

The new system is housed in a 16-inch-diameter structure and contains an advanced networking processor and datalink in addition to Lockheed Martin’s new generation AN/ASG-34 IRST sensor, which it calls IRST21. In December, the U.S. Navy received approval to begin low-rate initial production of the IRST sensor pod on the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

In an announcement earlier this month, Lockheed Martin said Legion Pod components have completed “limited qualification.” The company plans to conduct initial flight tests this year, with further testing in 2016. It said the pod would be available to support the F-15C IRST program of record for a long-range detection and tracking system. “As a flexible, production-ready system, Legion Pod can be quickly procured and integrated to meet current and emerging customer requirements,” said Ken Fuhr, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control director of fixed wing programs.

The Legion Pod also supports the Multi-Domain Adaptable Processing System (Maps), a “communication gateway” the U.S. Air Force seeks. Maps would enable the F-22 and F-35 fifth-generation fighters to share tactical data with fourth-generation fighters such as the F-15, F-16 and F-18, as well as other platforms connected by Link 16 data link. The gateway will be hosted on the F-15C, the Air Force has said.