Lockheed, U.S. Air Force partner on seeker

Aug. 29, 2011 at 7:16 AM
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ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin are assessing possible integration of a cooled tri-mode seeker onto weapon platforms.

The collaboration comes under a five-year cooperative research and development agreement from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate.

"We will work closely with Lockheed Martin to leverage their mature seeker technology with some of our novel in-house targeting concepts," said Buddy Goldsmith, chief of the U.S. Air Force's Weapon Seeker Sciences Branch and Seeker Phenomenology Evaluation and Research facility.

Lockheed Martin and AFRL will assess tri-mode weapon capabilities, emerging targeting concepts and guidance techniques. Data and analysis from the effort will enable AFRL to develop a baseline for integrating seekers onto future Air Force weapon platforms intended to engage stationary and mobile targets in day, night and adverse weather conditions.

Lockheed's cooled tri-mode seeker is based on three combat-proven weapon systems: Javelin, Longbow and Hellfire. The first-generation, tri-mode seeker was developed in 2001 for the Common Missile program; later generations were developed for the Small Diameter Bomb II and other weapon systems.

The seeker, in its fourth generation, has undergone thousands of hours of laboratory, tower and captive-carry tests and has been proven in dirty battlefield testing and in guided flight.

The tri-mode seeker combines a semi-active laser sensor, an imaging infrared sensor and a millimeter wave radar into a single seeker with a common aperture.

The cooled I2R sensor provides passive detection and lock-on-before-launch from substantial standoff ranges, significantly increasing warfighter survivability.

All three sensor modes run simultaneously and share information in flight, allowing warfighters to defeat moving and stationary targets.

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