Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Infrared Search and Track (IRST) program received a Milestone B Acquisition Decision Memorandum from the U.S. Navy on July 13. This allows the program to advance to its next development phase — Engineering and Manufacturing Development.
The IRST system is a passive, long-range sensor that searches for and detects infrared emissions. The system can simultaneously track multiple targets and provide an air-to-air targeting capability, even when encountering advanced threats equipped with radar-jamming technology, according to Boeing.
"The IRST sensor system will expand Super Hornet detection and targeting capability in multiple mission profiles, including electronically denied environments," said Tim Adrian, Boeing F/A-18E/F IRST program manager. "The F/A-18E/F features a balanced approach to combat survivability and lethality, employing a variety of onboard sensors that provide aircrews with unmatched situational awareness. The new IRST system will continue to expand the Super Hornet’s advanced capability."
Subcontracted to Boeing on the IRST contract are Lockheed Martin, which is producing the IRST sensor; GE Aviation, for the fuel tank assembly that will contain the sensor; and Meggitt Defense Systems, for the unit’s cooling subassembly.