Boeing awarded F/A-18E/F IRST sensor contract
Boeing is to engineer and develop a new Infrared Search and Track (IRST) sensor system for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet that can detect and track multiple targets in electronically denied environments, according to a company statement issued 22 November 2011. The contract, awarded by the US Navy, is worth $135 million.
The F/A-18E/F IRST system is a passive, long-range sensor that searches for and detects infrared emissions. The system can track multiple targets simultaneously and provides a highly effective air-to-air targeting capability. IRST allows the user to detect advanced threats, even those equipped with radar-jamming technology.
As an important element of the US Navy’s F/A-18E/F Block II Super Hornet Flight Plan – a series of planned capability enhancements that ensures the Super Hornet will continue to outdistance known and emerging threats over the coming decades – will deliver ‘a powerful sensor that is fully integrated with the advanced system architecture of the F/A-18E/F, while ensuring that the IRST system provides affordable, supportable and interoperable capability for the Navy.
The Boeing Super Hornet is a multirole aircraft, able to perform virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum, including air superiority, day/night strike with precision-guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defences, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions. According to Boeing, the IRST system is scheduled to achieve Initial Operating Capability in 2016.
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