An F/A-18C Hornet from the Rough Raiders of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 125 prepares to land. (MC3 Kenneth Abbate / U.S. Navy)
The U.S. Navy has tested an Infrared Search and Track sensor on the F/A-18 Super Hornet.
Under a $135 million contract awarded in 2011, Boeing and Lockheed Martin are developing the IRST, which is slated for deployment in 2017. The sensor was tested last year on a Boeing King Air aircraft, according to a Boeing news release.
"Combined with the Super Hornet's advanced radar and the Growler's electronic attack radar jamming ability, IRST will allow the fleet to dominate the skies in all threat environments," said Navy F/A-18 program manager Capt. Frank Morley.
An infrared sensor allows targets to be detected without broadcasting an aircraft's location by emitting radar beams. "The success of this first flight and the test flights before it highlights the maturity of the next-generation IRST system that Lockheed Martin and Boeing are delivering to the U.S. Navy today to support Navy Carrier Strike Group objectives," said Ken Fuhr, director of fixed wing programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.