F-35 device shows new capabilities

Feb. 11, 2013 at 2:13 PM

BALTIMORE, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. company Northrop Grumman reports that detection of hostile ground fire has been added to the capabilities of its Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System.

The AN/AAQ-37 was designed for use by F-35 Lightning IIs for simultaneously detecting and tracking aircraft and missiles in every direction and for providing visual imagery for day or night navigation and targeting purposes.

Northrop said the new capability was demonstrated by the AN/AAQ-37 DAS while being flown aboard a test aircraft. The Distributed Aperture System detected and located tanks that were firing live rounds during preparations for a military exercise.

"Although hostile fire detection is not an F-35 requirement for the DAS, the system design makes it ideal for this mission," Northrop Grumman said. "This inherent capability enables DAS to harvest, process and deliver key battlespace information to ground forces and other aircraft autonomously, without the need for cueing or increasing pilot workload.

"The ability to gather this live fire data expands the mission possibilities of the sensor to include close air support and ground fire targeting."

In addition to detecting artillery, the system has also demonstrated a capability to simultaneously detect and pinpoint the location of rockets and anti-aircraft artillery fired in a wide area, Northrop said.

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