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Lockheed Martin Awarded FA-18 EF IRST Sensor System EMD Contract
by Staff Writers
Orlando, FL (SPX) Nov 23, 2011


F/A-18E/F IRST. Credit: Lockheed Martin photo

Lockheed Martin received a contract to complete the development of the Infrared Search and Track (IRST) sensor system for the U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F, marking the start of the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development phase of the program.

"IRST is a game-changer for air-to-air combat, providing a 'first to see, first to strike' capability," said Paul Hey, IRST senior program manager in Lockheed Martin's Missiles and Fire Control business.

"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."

Lockheed Martin's IRST sensor system improves aircrews' situational awareness, lethality and survivability, even in threat-intensive environments.

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. The F/A-18E/F IRST is scheduled to achieve Initial Operating Capability in 2016.

The IRST system's high-angle accuracy also provides the ability to track closely-spaced targets at maximum ranges. This information can be combined with other on-board sensor data or used alone to further enhance the pilot's situational awareness.

This advanced IRST sensor system builds on Lockheed Martin's mature and proven IRST technology, which was carrier-deployed on the legacy F-14D platform.

With an active IRST production line delivering units to equip international variants of the F-15, Lockheed Martin is currently subcontracted to the Boeing Company to develop an IRST capability for the U.S. Air Force F-15C.

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