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Lockheed Martin Conducts Successful Flight Tests for F-35 Electro Optical Targeting System


The Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] Electro Optical Targeting System (EOTS) for the F-35 Lightning II successfully completed its inaugural flight test, demonstrating its capability as a multi-functional system for precision air-to-air and air-to-surface targeting.

The flight test met all objectives including the demonstration of the Infrared Search and Track (IRST) system data collection and the Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) point and scene track. Subsequent flights will test the laser, proving EOTS’ full functionality in a stand-alone environment. This landmark flight aboard a uniquely configured Sabreliner aircraft at Goodyear Airport in Phoenix is the first among many that will be ongoing for the remainder of the calendar year.

EOTS is the latest generation infrared sensor technology building upon the successes of Lockheed Martin legacy systems such as the LANTIRN and Sniper advanced targeting pods. It provides high-resolution imagery, automatic tracking, infrared-search-and-track, laser designation and rangefinding, and laser spot tracking at greatly increased standoff ranges.

“This first flight is a significant step toward ensuring the technical maturity of this infrared targeting system prior to final-stage integration on the CATB (Cooperative Avionics Test Bed) aircraft,” said Rich Hinkle, program director, Joint Strike Fighter EOTS at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “During final integration, all of the F-35’s sensors are fused together, providing the pilot an unprecedented level of situational awareness.”

The Sabreliner flight test ushered in the first phase of a three-phase flight test program. The EOTS will eventually fly aboard the CATB aircraft, joined by the complete F-35 sensor suite during the second quarter of 2008.

Integrated into the F-35’s fuselage with a durable sapphire window, the low-drag, stealthy EOTS is linked to the aircraft’s central computer through a high-speed fiber-optic interface. EOTS will provide the Lightning II pilot with significant air-to-air and air-to-ground functionality in a single compact and totally passive sensor.


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