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Lockheed to supply IRST for F/A-18E/F

Lockheed Martin has been selected to supply the infrared search and track (IRST) sensor for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Block 2 Super Hornet. The podded system will provide passive detection and tracking of airborne targets at long range.

The long-wave IR sensor will be mounted in the nose of the 1,820 litre (480USgal) centreline fuel tank, reducing capacity to 1,250 litres. "That way it doesn't take up any stores stations," says F/A-18 programme general manager Bob Gower.

Boeing and Lockheed are working on a proof-of-concept demonstrator that will fly later this year, Gower says. The US Navy plans to buy 150 IRSTs, with the system scheduled to become operational in 2012-13. The F/A-18E/F offered to India will have the IRST installed in the nose, he says.

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