Lockheed Martin secured a contract from U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F for completing the Infrared Search and Track (IRST) sensor system development, which marks the commencement of the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) stage of the program.
IRST’s senior program manager in the Missiles and Fire Control business of Lockheed, Paul Hey, stated that IRST enables game-changing during air-to-air battle and offers the potential of 'first to see, first to strike.’ He added that IRST is working with the radar of the airplane to improve the overall performance of the weapon system, even in an environment that may cause jamming and enables the war fighters to face threats with a higher success rate.
IRST sensor system from Lockheed has enhanced the survivability and lethality even in high-risk conditions and situational awareness of the aircrews. The IRST system is a long-range, passive sensor, which detects several targets simultaneously over an extensive region and is not influenced by radar jamming and electronic attack. The F/A-18E/F IRST will attain the Initial Operating Capability during 2016.
High-angle accuracy of the IRST system offers the potential to sense the targets that are spaced closely at maximum ranges. This data can be integrated with additional on-board sensor information or utilized independently to additionally improve the situational awareness of the pilot.
This superior IRST sensor system has been incorporated on confirmed and mature IRST technology from Lockheed Martin, which was set on the legacy F-14D platform.
At present, the company has subcontracted with Boeing for expanding the potential of the IRST sensor system for the U.S. Air Force F-15C, using a dynamic IRST production line that supplies units to furnish the global variants of the F-15.