New IRST Sensor For Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter

The crew of the F/A-18 Super Hornet carrying the Navy’s Infrared Search and Track (IRST) pod at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. (Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

U.S. Navy successfully carried out the maiden flight test of Infrared Search and Track (IRST) sensor onboard Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet on Feb. 11, from Edwards Air Force Base, California.

The passive, long-range IRST sensor searches and detects heat sources, simultaneously track multiple targets and provide a highly effective air-to-air targeting capability, even when encountering advanced threats equipped with radar-jamming technology.

Because IRST is passive, unlike radar systems, it does not give off radiation and is harder to detect, giving superior first-see, first-shoot advantage to pilot against enemy aircrafts. The IRST, provides the F/A-18 an alternate air-to-air targeting system in a high-threat electronic-attack environment.

The system is being developed under a $135 million contract awarded to Lockheed Martin in 2011 and is currently planned to be deployed by 2017. The IRST sensor was initially tested last year on a Boeing King Air test aircraft.