Boeing has awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for the second phase of development and testing for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block II Infrared Search and Track program for the U.S. Navy.
The award will include development, integration and flight testing of the IRST21 Block II sensor package. The IRST21 sensor uses infrared to locate and track airborne targets in radar-denied environments, or when a passive system is needed to avoid detection.
IRST21 is currently mounted on the F/A-18E/F’s centerline fuel tank. The IRST detects and tracks airborne targets at long ranges, and can merge the data with the fighters’ other sensors to provide a multi-dimensional view of threats. Its passive operation allows target detection and tracking without giving away the plane’s location and identification with detectable radar transmissions.
The F/A-18 Super Hornet is the primary carrier- and land-based multi-role fighter of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The E/A-18G Growler is an electronic warfare jamming and anti-radar variant of the series.