F-35 Lightning II News

JSF Electro-Optical Targeting Technology on track

November 9, 2004 (by habu2) - Lockheed Martin is confident about the progress of the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), with first flight targeted for March 2009.

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They will build 12 EOTS for the JSF systems development and demonstration (SDD).

The first "real delivery" comes in September 2006, when the Orlando group delivers an EOTS to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth for use on the 737 Cooperative Avionics Test Bed (CATB) aircraft it uses. The first delivery to the Mission Systems Integration Laboratory (MSIL) in Fort Worth is slated for August 2007. A JSF will fly with the EOTS in March 2009.

The EOTS would be encased in a sapphire structure under the nose of the JSF. Reiman pointed out that functional capabilities for the JSF include air-to-air targeting forward looking infrared (FLIR), air-to-surface targeting FLIR, laser designation and ranging, laser spot tracking and long-range infrared search and track (IRST). With a weight under 200 pounds, it is lighter than current external targeting pods used by existing combat aircraft.

The IRST feature is an element the program is particularly enthusiastic about. EOTS is the only air-to-surface targeting system that has ever incorporated a true infrared search and track capability. There are others in the past that have some capabilities in that regard. But there are none that have actually looked at long range out into a part of space, detect potential enemy targets at long range, maintain tracks on those targets until they get in close enough so where we can now switch over to the air targeting part of the mode of our FLIR system.

All U.S. aircraft are slated to receive the EOTS technology. However, foreign breakdown has yet to fully materialize.


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