Lockheed Martin is promoting infrared search and track (IRST) to help upgrade the sensor capabilities of the region’s fighter fleets.
Unlike radar, IRST is a passive sensor. It detects targets by sensing their IR signatures. This eliminates the need for an aircraft to give away its position through the transmission of radar waves.
At a presentation at the Lockheed Chalet, Paul Lemmo, vice president fire control, listed several attributes of IRST, which Lockheed packages in its Legion Pod system.
IRST offers a large field of regard and, unlike radar, is immune to electronic attack. In addition, the technology is improving, offering longer range than previous iterations of IRST technology.
While Lemmo declined to discuss the range at which IRST can detect targets, he said that it can create tracks of sufficient quality to launch weapons.
On legacy aircraft, the Legion Pod can be installed on a centre line pod, or on a cheek station under an engine inlet. While IRST has definite utility, one area of weakness is overcast, cloudy weather, says Lemno.
Lockheed has implemented IRST on fighters such as the Boeing F/A-18 E/F, F-15C, and F-16.