Lockheed Martin buys 22 electro-optical sensors to give F-35 pilots a spherical view of the environment

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. † Fighter aircraft experts at Lockheed Martin Corp. buy 22 360 degrees electro-optical sensor systems for the US F-35 Joint Strike Fighter under the terms of a $22.6 million order announced Tuesday.

Naval Air Systems Command officials at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland, ask the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics segment in Fort Worth, Texas, to purchase 22 Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS) sensors for the F-35 system technology refresh-3.

The contract also calls on Lockheed Martin to purchase development and operational testing, block 4 testing, the environmental electromagnetic impact aircraft and a spare sensor set for next-generation F-35 capabilities.

The electro-optical DAS collects high-resolution real-time images from six infrared (IR) cameras mounted around the aircraft and transmits them to the pilot’s helmet-mounted display, providing a 360-degree spherical display of the environment.

Related: Exploring What the Human Eye Can’t See

The next generation electro-optical DAS comes from Raytheon Technologies Corp. Intelligence & Space segment in McKinney, Texas. The original manufacturer of the system was Northrop Grumman Corp., but the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin switched suppliers of the system to Raytheon in mid-2018.

The Raytheon-built DAS sensor system will be integrated into F-35 aircraft, starting with Lot 15 aircraft, expected to be delivered in 2023.

The electro-optical DAS is designed to warn the pilot of incoming enemy aircraft and missiles, daylight and night vision; fire fighting; and accurate tracking of nearby aircraft for tactical maneuvering.

Related: Lockheed Martin builds legacy electro-optical avionics pods for US allied fighters

By projecting the DAS video stream onto a helmet-mounted screen, the pilot of the F-35 can see through the aircraft structure to view the environment.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is the manufacturer of the F-35 jet-bomber for the United States Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force and the Allied Air Forces.

Under this order, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon will do the work in McKinney and Fort Worth, Texas, and should be completed by July 2023. For more information, contact Lockheed Martin Aeronautics online www.lockheedmartin.comRaytheon Intelligence & Space at www.raytheonintelligenceandspace.comof Naval Air Systems Command on www.navair.navy.mil

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