A contract to complete the development of an infrared search and track (IRST) sensor system for the U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F, has been awarded to Lockheed Martin, which produces advanced military and security technology.
The IRST is a passive, long-range sensor that simultaneously tracks multiple targets over a large area and is unaffected by electronic attack or radar jamming, Lockheed says. The IRST sensor system improves aircrews’ situational awareness, lethality and survivability, even in threat-intensive environments, the company says.
“IRST is a game-changer for air-to-air combat, providing a ‘first to see, first to strike’ capability,” said Paul Hey, Lockheed’s IRST senior program manager. “IRST works with the aircraft’s radar to enhance the overall weapon system performance, even in a jamming environment, allowing the warfighter to engage threats with a high probability of success,” he said.
The IRST sensor system builds on Lockheed’s IRST technology, which was carrier-deployed on the legacy F-14D platform, and the system’s high-angle accuracy also provides the ability to track closely-spaced targets at maximum ranges, Lockheed says. The data acquired by IRST can be combined with other on-board sensor data or used alone to further enhance the pilot’s situational awareness, the firm says.
In addition, with an active IRST production line delivering units to equip international variants of the F-15, Lockheed is subcontracted to the Boeing Company to develop an IRST capability for the U.S. Air Force F-15C.