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Squadron conducts first F-15C live test fire using IRST-cued AIM-120 missile

An F-15C Eagle from the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron successfully test fired an AIM-120 missile using Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod IRST Block 1.5 system. Photo by 1st Lt Lindsey Heflin/U.S. Air Force
An F-15C Eagle from the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron successfully test fired an AIM-120 missile using Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod IRST Block 1.5 system. Photo by 1st Lt Lindsey Heflin/U.S. Air Force

Aug. 10 (UPI) -- The 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron has test fired its first Infrared Search-and-Track system-cued AIM-120 missile from an F-15C eagle, the U.S. Air Force announced on Tuesday.

The Air Force F-15C jet fight aircraft was equipped with Lockhead Martin's Legion Pod IRST Block 1.5 system, which allowed it to fire an AIM-120 Advanced-Medium-Range-Air-to-Air Missile to successfully abd hit a QF-16 aerial target on Thursday.

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The successful test was announced Tuesday in a press release from the 53rd Wing of the U.S. Air Force based at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

The IRST passive target tracking capability was used with the APG-63v3 RADAR to datalink the target location to the AIM-120, Major Brian Davis, 85th TES Chief of Air-to-Air Weapons and Tactics explained in the 53rd Wing statement.

Sensors also allowed the F-15C to collaborate with the AIM-120 missile to successfully intercept a target and close kill chains, officials said.

"This successful live missile test is significant because an F-15 equipped with an IRST-cued AIM-120 allows us to achieve detection, tracking, weapons employment, and verification of an intercept without being dependent upon RADAR energy," Davis said.

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"It's also not susceptible to radio frequency jamming or a target's low observable design," Davis said.

A Legion Pod Block 1.5 IRST fielding evaluation coincided with the test fire.

"This proves the capabilities of the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Air Force to lethally target an aircraft outside of the traditional radar electromagnetic spectrum," said Lt. Col. Jacob Lindaman in the release.

"Pairing that with the ability to also adopt the Legion Pod on any platform sets a precedent for what's to come," Lindaman said.

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