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#374 2007-07-06 20:49 GMT-5 hours    
F-18 Super Hornets to Get IRST

The F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet Block IIs are just beginning to enter service,
with significantly improved AN/APG-79 AESA radars and other electronic
upgrades. Recent years have seen another spreading improvement within global
fighter fleets, however: Infa-Red Search & Track (IRST) systems that provide
long range thermal imaging. Not only can this approach defeat radar stealth
by focusing on (for instance) the F-35's huge single engine and its
unshielded exhaust - it also offers a passive way to locate and target enemy
aircraft that won't trigger radar warning receivers. When coupled with
medium-range IR missiles like some Russian AA-10 variants, France's MICA, or
even future versions of AMRAAM NCADE, an IRST system offers a fighter both
an extra set of eyes and a stealthy air-air combat weapon.

Retrofits into existing aircraft can be tricky, but Boeing has undertaken an
RFI selection process and tapped Lockheed Martin's Missiles and Fire Control
division to supply up to 150 IRST systems for F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet Block
II aircraft. Boeing and Lockheed Martin will invest more than $10 million of
their own money on a risk reduction demonstration, with U.S. Navy
participation. They expect to receive a US Navy IRST development contract in
the summer of 2008, with a total value of over $500 million through the
development and production phases of the program.
Instead of modifying the airframe's structure or wiring, the partners will
be taking an unusual route: modifying a 480 gallon centerline fuel tank to
carry 330 gallons of fuel + the IRST system. This approach would also allow
refits to existing Super Hornets, and indeed to all "teen series" fighters
in the US arsenal, once software integration is performed for each aircraft
type. The drawback to this approach is that a centerline tank with IRST
needs to stay on the airplane in combat, compromising aerodynamic
performance somewhat. First production deliveries of F/A-18 E/F IRST systems
are expected in 2012, with initial operational capability anticipated in
2013.

-Ray

This is the oldest I've ever been.

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#376 2007-07-08 18:03 GMT-5 hours    
Is it just me or is this "F-35's huge single engine and its unshielded exhaust" point a tad moot... in a head-on engagement, won't the engine of the F-35 be, well, er, pointing away from the Rhino?

I do like the idea of a Rhino going up against the F-35 though! Perhaps they could do it now and get the F-35 out of the way for more F/A-18E/Fs.

Regards,

Robin


You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run!

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#388 2007-07-14 17:34 GMT-5 hours    
My question is this: why did it take so long for the US to bring back the system on fighters? The last American fighter to have such a system was the F-102 (I don't think the F-106 had them).

As for the Rhino up against an F-35? My bet would be on the Rhino.

Check six!

Jim

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#391 2007-07-15 16:59 GMT-5 hours    
Quote
bytefyter :
My question is this: why did it take so long for the US to bring back the system on fighters? The last American fighter to have such a system was the F-102 (I don't think the F-106 had them).



What about the F-14?

Regards,

Robin


You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run!

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