ST. LOUIS, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A passive, long-range sensor that searches for hard-to-detect targets has been tested for the first time on a Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet.
Testing of the infrared search and track system was conducted on the Boeing-made aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base in California as part of a planned upgrade to the Navy jets.
"Adding an advanced infrared sensor to the Super Hornet broadens the Navy's war-fighting ability," Capt. Frank Morley, manager of the Navy F/A-18 program said. "Combined with the Super Hornet's advanced radar and the Growler's electronic attack radar jamming ability, [the infrared system] will allow the fleet to dominate the skies in all threat environments."
"We continually evolve the aircraft to outpace future adversaries," said Tim Adrian, manager of the F/A-18 infrared system program. "When radar isn't an option, this upgrade allows operators to locate targets and deploy the best weapon for the mission."
The infrared system searches for and detects heat sources, can simultaneously track multiple targets and provide a highly effective air-to-air targeting capability even when encountering advanced threats equipped with radar-jamming technology. It is being developed under a $135 million contract awarded in 2011 and is planned to be deployed by 2017.