ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has conducted the first flight of the F-35 Electro-Optical Targeting System on the Cooperative Avionics Test Bed platform.
The EOTS maturation on the Cooperative Avionics Test Bed platform, or CATBird, is the final step prior to integration on the BF-4, the first mission systems-equipped F-35 test aircraft, the company said.
"The CATBird's dynamic flight environment provides the first opportunity to test and evaluate how EOTS integrates into the F-35's fused sensor architecture," said Rich Hinkle, program director of F-35 EOTS at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "After three years of rigorous testing on the Sabreliner aircraft, EOTS is more than ready for CATBird integration and we're excited to reach this important milestone."
The CATBird is a modified 737 aircraft containing an actual F-35 cockpit and test stations to perform real-time analysis as mission systems are evaluated.
The aircraft also provides the capability to fuse sensor information, which mimics how the F-35's fused sensor architecture.
The company said F-35 EOTS builds upon the success of its Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod to provide high-resolution imagery, automatic target tracking, infrared-search-and-track, laser designation and range finding, all at greatly increased standoff ranges.