Lockheed Marin chose Raytheon to develop and deliver the next-generation distributed aperture system (DAS) for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, replacing incumbent Northrop Grumman.
Lockheed Martin said that the change in provider will reduce cost while adding capabilities.
“The supply chain competition for the next generation F-35 Distributed Aperture System resulted in significant cost savings, reliability and performance improvements,” Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 VP and general manager, said in a statement.
Northrop Grumman currently supplies the AN/AAQ-37 DAS, which consists of six electro-optical sensors to provide the pilot with 360-degree situational awareness for missile and aircraft threat warnings, launch point detection, targeting, and day/night navigation.
Notably, the DAS sensor sends high-resolution real-time images to the pilot’s helmet, allowing the pilot to see through the bottom of the aircraft to the ground below.
A Lockheed Martin spokesperson said Northrop Grumman has delivered the DAS for all F-35 built thus far and will continue through Lot 14 aircraft. Raytheon’s DAS will then be integrated first into Lot 15 F-35s, with deliveries expected to start in 2023.
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