USAF plans F-15 modernization

Triton

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USAF plans F-15 modernization, but pilots want better displays

By: Dave Majumdar Washington DC
08:58 17 Aug 2012
Source:
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-plans-f-15-modernization-but-pilots-want-better-displays-375612/


The US Air Force is planning a host of upgrades for its fleet of Boeing F-15Cs and F-15Es, but pilots say that without upgraded displays, they will not be able to take full advantage of those enhanced systems.

On the two-seat multirole F-15E Strike Eagle, the air force is planning to add the new Raytheon APG-82(V)1 active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar, a new advanced display core processor II (ADCP II) mission computer, a new electronic warfare system dubbed the Eagle passive/active warning and survivability system (EPAWSS), a digital video recorder, Mode 5 identification friend or foe (IFF), and a joint helmet mounted cueing system (JHMCS) for the front seat, says a senior air force official at the F-15 system program office (SPO) at Robins AFB, Georgia. The aircraft will also receive a series of software block updates.

The air force plans to furnish the single-seat F-15C air superiority fighter fleet with a similar upgrade. The F-15C is already receiving the Raytheon APG-63(V) 3 AESA, but it will also receive the ADCP II, EPAWSS, Mode 5 IFF, a new flight data recorder, a satellite communications (SATCOM) radio, and a new digital video recorder, the F-15 SPO official says. The F-15 will also receive a series of software block updates.

Pilots applaud the improved sensors, but point out that without a major overhaul to the aircraft's displays, they will not be able to take full advantage of those new systems. "Those look like great upgrades. The part I see that is lacking is in the displays," says one highly experienced former F-15 pilot. "You have these phenomenal subsystems, but if you can't provide [sensor data] in a meaningful way to the operator, it doesn't matter."

The radar display on the F-15C is particularly problematic. "The F-15C has a phenomenal radar, but the info is displayed on a tiny four by four [inch] scope," the pilot says. Even the F-15E, which has a much more modern glass cockpit, will not be able to fully utilize the information generated by the new sensors without further modernization.

The USAF is not currently considering adding, for example, the large area display or decoupled cockpits that Boeing is offering to international F-15E customers. "However, we continue to look for opportunities to leverage to meet the warfighter's needs," the F-15 SPO official says.

The APG-82 development effort for the F-15E is continuing, the F-15 SPO official says. The new radar marries the AESA antenna from the APG-63(V) 3 with the backend electronics from the Boeing F/A-18E/F's Raytheon APG-79 AESA radar-currently in service with the US Navy. "Operational testing will start in March 2013," the official says. "The first production installation is scheduled for early fiscal year 2014."

Meanwhile, the air force has started planning for the development and integration of the EPAWSS. The service hopes to award an engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract in the second quarter of fiscal year 2015, the official says.

To take better advantage of the new radar and electronic warfare systems, and also to enable further upgrades, the F-15 must integrate the ADCP II computer. The air force hopes to start development of the ADCP II with a "Milestone B" decision in November 2012, the F-15 SPO official says. The first F-15E installation is planned for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016 while the F-15C will receive the new computer in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.

The USAF also hopes to add an infrared search and track (IRST) capability to the F-15C, which could significantly boost the air-to-air capability of the venerable air superiority fighter. "The IRST program will restart in fiscal year 2015," the official says. But "the F-15E will not receive the IRST" because it is not primarily tasked with air-to-air missions.

Further modernization is a foregone conclusion as both versions of the F-15 are expected to remain in USAF service into the 2030s. Fortunately for the air force, the F-15 airframe is robust and should be able serve well into the future, the F-15 SPO official says.

"There is currently no projected requirement for a major structural mod program. Numerous structural improvements have been incorporated throughout the life of both F-15C and E models," he says. "Many parts have been redesigned to eliminate structural issues identified during service."

One of the unique features of the F 15 is that "it has very robust programmed depot maintenance (PDM) which includes a complete wing overhaul." The aircraft's structure will continue to be sustained through this PDM process, the F-15 SPO official says.

But the USAF is also working to increase the F-15's service life though structural testing.

"Previous F-15E full scale testing successfully demonstrated 16,000 flight hours of operational usage with no catastrophic failures or evidence of life limiting fatigue issues. The current fleet average is approximately 9,000 hours," the official says. "A contract for additional testing was awarded in [fiscal year 2010] to recertify the F-15E structure for service to 2035 based on current/projected flying hours and usage severity." Testing in the Strike Eagle should be completed by September 2015.

F-15C full scale testing has already demonstrated 18,000 flight hours of operational usage "with no catastrophic failures or evidence of life limiting fatigue issues. The current fleet average is approximately 8,600 hours," the F-15 SPO official says. The air force awarded a contract for additional testing on the jet in fiscal year 2009 to recertify the F-15C's structure to push its service life out to 2030. That is "based on current/projected flying hours and usage severity," the official says.

Testing on the F-15C should be complete by September 2014.
 

sferrin

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Triton said:
F-15C full scale testing has already demonstrated 18,000 flight hours of operational usage "with no catastrophic failures or evidence of life limiting fatigue issues.
Which begs the question how many hours did the F-15 lost to a failed longeron have?
 

Michel Van

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oh dear, after F-22 program stop
will the F-15 become the fighter counterpart of B-52 ?
still in service in 2040...
 

Triton

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In February, it was announced that the US Air Force planned on modernizing 350 F-16 fighter aircraft.

Source:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/03/us-exclusive-usa-fighters-lockheedmartin-idUSTRE81200H20120203
 

Triton

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Michel Van said:
oh dear, after F-22 program stop
will the F-15 become the fighter counterpart of B-52 ?
still in service in 2040...
Does the Air National Guard and the United States Air Force really require that its enter fleet of fighters and strike fighters have low observable (stealth) technology? Is it really an "old" airplane if it has undergone a service life extension and upgrade radars and other systems.
 

Antonio

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why not?,
the F-15 is still a useful aircraft and it can fill the gap untill the arrival of UCAV
 

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sferrin said:
Which begs the question how many hours did the F-15 lost to a failed longeron have?

5,700, but the piece failed because it wasn't built right in the first place. That is something full scale testing of a single air frame can't save you from, but it also means repairing it wasn't that hard.
 

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What Sea Skimmer said - the problem with the longeron failure was not some kind of previously unknown fatigue issue with the structure as designed/tested, it was caused by a part not having been manufactured to the correct specification.
 

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The USAF is not currently considering adding, for example, the large area display or decoupled cockpits that Boeing is offering to international F-15E customers. "However, we continue to look for opportunities to leverage to meet the warfighter's needs," the F-15 SPO official says.
For the price of a couple of F-35s they could replace all the older CRT and LCD displays in our F-15s and F-16s, but noooooo...

I'm glad they're improving our older aircraft but it seems compared to new built F-15s for South Korea and Singapore & Saudi Arabia along with all those block 60+ F-16s being manufactured it is kind of lacking. Sure we have our 195 F-22s and F-35s but other countries will be buying and upgrading those F-35s while other countries develop and sell their own 4++ and 5th generation fighters.

The USAF also hopes to add an infrared search and track (IRST) capability to the F-15C, which could significantly boost the air-to-air capability of the venerable air superiority fighter. "The IRST program will restart in fiscal year 2015," the official says. But "the F-15E will not receive the IRST" because it is not primarily tasked with air-to-air missions.
We had IRST since the 1950s and had it on our F-14s, what the heck is taking so long for something many other countries develop, buy and use? Never should have gotten rid of our F-14s, we could have at least used its IRST or a design based off of it for improvements to our aircraft.
 

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Boeing is building four pods to be mounted on the USAF F-15 Eagle's under the Talon Hate program.
These pods will contain an infrared search and track sensor (IRST) and data-links systems like the Multifunctional Information Distribution System-JTRS (or MIDS-J) terminal, that will allow the F-22 to share its information with USAF legacy fighters.
Boeing has completed the final design review for a U.S. Air Force system, called Talon HATE, to improve communication and information sharing among various platforms. Talon HATE combines information from fighter networks, national sources and joint command and control assets. Transmitting over data-links, the information can then be used by joint aircraft, ships and ground stations, improving communication and information sharing across the battlespace.
The Talon HATE system is designed to initially be carried in a pod attached to Boeing’s F-15C fighter aircraft as shown in this artist’s concept. It combines information from fighter networks, national sources and joint command and control assets. Boeing is on schedule to deliver several Talon HATE systems to operational squadrons in 2015.

Source: Boeing Completes Design Review for U.S. Air Force’s Talon HATE Program
 

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sferrin

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I hope that "pod" has 500 gallons of fuel as well else it should be the size of a Sniper pod.
 

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It looks like the IRST is pretty big -- not a boresight sensor but something with quite a wide field of view. I suspect it's meant to cue other aircraft across a pretty broad area, not just the carrier. Throw in SATCOM, a couple of different datalinks, and a MIDS modem (in a quick and dirty non-optimized design) and it's not surprising that it's pretty large.

I get the impression that the idea for this pod is to use the equipped aircraft as coordinators to direct large operations like offensive counter-air sweeps with a mix of F-15s and F-22s.
 

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TomS said:
It looks like the IRST is pretty big -- not a boresight sensor but something with quite a wide field of view. I suspect it's meant to cue other aircraft across a pretty broad area, not just the carrier. Throw in SATCOM, a couple of different datalinks, and a MIDS modem (in a quick and dirty non-optimized design) and it's not surprising that it's pretty large.

I get the impression that the idea for this pod is to use the equipped aircraft as coordinators to direct large operations like offensive counter-air sweeps with a mix of F-15s and F-22s.
The IRST itself is not that big, I'm pretty sure it's a later version of the IRST the F-14D carried internally. About 9" diameter and a bit over 3 ' long. Field of view is +/- 70 ° in azimuth and elevation. It's already on the F-15SGs and later Ks and may show up on other export Eagles. As you can see it is compact enough that you can even hang another sensor/designator pod underneath it.

Like you said, the use of the big tank is so that they can throw a lot of other stuff onto th eEagle for which it doesn't have the internal volume. There's another perspective on it here:
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/f-18-super-hornets-to-get-irst-03429/ under the heading,
IRST Future: A SpectIR for all Teens?
 

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sferrin

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I guess I just don't understand why, if Japan can do it right, why can't we?
 

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sferrin said:
I guess I just don't understand why, if Japan can do it right, why can't we?
It's not all roses for Japan in that area. Look at the ongoing (AFAIK) RF-15 [not to be confused with SNEAK PEAK] dispute. Long story short, a previous government cancelled a contract with Toshiba to convert 8 MSIP F-15DJs to RF-15 standard with podded SAR, along with optical and infrared capability. (The Government at the time had social programs to pay for after all.) Unfortunately for them, they used the old saw of unilaterally changing the contract specs, and then while the contractor was trying to meet the changed specs, declared default & Cancelled for Cause, with a ¥1.2 billion yen damages claim on the side. I say unfortunately, because Toshiba refused to play along and sued for ¥9.3 billion in damages. Tricks that work in Western style contract law tend not work so well in Japanese style contract law (which is probably why there have been recent attempts by 'reformers' to supplant the latter with the former in Japanese contracts).
 

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Grey Havoc said:
sferrin said:
I guess I just don't understand why, if Japan can do it right, why can't we?
It's not all roses for Japan in that area. Look at the ongoing (AFAIK) RF-15 [not to be confused with SNEAK PEAK] dispute. Long story short, a previous government cancelled a contract with Toshiba to convert 8 MSIP F-15DJs to RF-15 standard with podded SAR, along with optical and infrared capability. (The Government at the time had social programs to pay for after all.) Unfortunately for them, they used the old saw of unilaterally changing the contract specs, and then while the contractor was trying to meet the changed specs, declared default & Cancelled for Cause, with a ¥1.2 billion yen damages claim on the side. I say unfortunately, because Toshiba refused to play along and sued for ¥9.3 billion in damages. Tricks that work in Western style contract law tend not work so well in Japanese style contract law (which is probably why there have been recent attempts by 'reformers' to supplant the latter with the former in Japanese contracts).
How does this relate to the IRST on the F-15J?
 

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sferrin said:
I guess I just don't understand why, if Japan can do it right, why can't we?
I suspect it's that until fairly recently, USAF has not been a fan of IRST capability and so never wanted it.
 

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We used to have IRST on the F-101,102,106,4,8,14. Why did we suddenly seem to lose interest in the past 20-30 years? It's seems to be a pretty simple capability we could have kept around for only a fairly small investment in time and money.

Could pods such as ATFLIR, Litening, SNIPER-XP...etc be used in a similar way, maybe fusing what they see to the radar display? Although it probably would not be as accurate as a dedicated IRST sensor.
 

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John21 said:
We used to have IRST on the F-101,102,106,4,8,14. Why did we suddenly seem to lose interest in the past 20-30 years? It's seems to be a pretty simple capability we could have kept around for only a fairly small investment in time and money.

Could pods such as ATFLIR, Litening, SNIPER-XP...etc be used in a similar way, maybe fusing what they see to the radar display? Although it probably would not be as accurate as a dedicated IRST sensor.
Probably more than anyone cares to read, but...

The IR on those earlier a/c (note that in the case of those three USAF aircraft they were all interceptors), IR was mostly detection and not really intended to supply a usable track, mostly just search and detect. Plus, an image was not formed, just a detection. Also, they were add-ons not designed in from the start. In the case of the F-4, the USN from the beginning planned for the F-4B to have a more advanced IR sensor with limited track capability, but it proved to be maintenance intensive and not worth the trouble in the real work environment in which the F-4 was operating, so it was removed.


The F-14A (originally) had a more advanced IR scanning sensor. It could scan independently of the radar or be slaved to it. In the latter case it was useful to compensate for the problem beam width error. For example, if Maverick and Goose's F-14 had had that sensor, the" MiG-28s" would not have been able to sneak up on them at the beginning of the movie before they were exposed as multiples. They would have seen the single radar returns, but collocated would have been two distinct heat sources which would have given the game away. It worked, but again there were maintainability issues with this more advanced piece of equipment, so it was discontinued.

The F-14D used the AN/AAS-42, a much more advanced type. It had full search and track capability operating in conjunction with the radar, TCS or independently. Reportedly it could track, "...at Phoenix ranges", which could probably be translated as "beyond AIM-120 range". Full sensor fusion was planned for the F-14D, although offhand I can't remember how much actually got implemented after Cheney killed the aircraft. On the tactical display the computer generated imagery could be synthesized from a combination of the APG-71 radar and the AAS-42. If one sensor lost track through countermeasures or whatever, the go other could bring it back on target. The IRST imagery was slated to also be displayed on the HUD and could be correlated with the TCS as well. Again, how much of that actually got done I don't know. Imagery from the AAS-42 and it's remarkable, looks like a decent black and white movie, images fully formed. Detects curvature and the like and can identify aircraft types when combined with the right database processor. I imagine the latest PIRATE may have similar capabilities

Until recently USAF hasn't been much interested in IR/IRST /optical systems for fighters, preferring to hang their hat mostly on radar. Lately, though, their own work with stealth technology has convinced them they need another arrow in the quiver.



Although ATFLIR and Sniper have been played with in the air-to-air mode, they really aren't that effective. Their resolution (like you said) and scan is slower (modern IRSTs can scan faster than an AESA), because for what they are intended to do it's not needed. OTOH, they are designed to operate longer. One of the improvements to the AAS-42 planned back in the '90s was to have a seeker head that would go more than 50 hours before having to be rebuilt. This life was acceptable because an IRST doesn't have to operate on a mission for as long a period as a FLIR. Still, the longer the better.



Besides there's no need to go to the trouble of adapting those devices. You can just buy the An/AAS-42. It was on the F-14D, a version is on export Strike Eagles, USAF uses it on Aggressor F-16s and a later version is going to go into a centerline fuel tank on the Hornet E/F (Hey! I thought they said one of the Super Bug's benefits was that it would have so much more internal space for new systems!) and on USAF F-15s it's going to be in a multipurpose centerline pod. Why spend the bucks to adapt something not as good (in this role) when you can buy the AN/AAS-42 , I mean "IRST21" as it's now marketed, off the shelf.
 

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marauder2048 said:
AN/AAS-42 IRST footage at 19 seconds in.
...and it's been significantly improved since that early marketing-level video was made.
 

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F-14D - Thanx. Good background - and note attached LM graphic showing that range exceeds radar.


I was never quite sure what got IRST thrown off ATF (or consigned to the future-upgrade list) but the basic line was "it didn't earn its way on board" - which may have meant that, at the time, the other sensors (LPI radar, EW and offboard) were considered enough to enable detection/track/ID without the attacker being detected. However, adversary RCS reduction and EW improvements will have moved those goalposts.



As for Selex (Pirate and Skyward-G), the story I hear is that processing has done a very good job of reducing false alarm rates in a cluttered environment (Europe). Multiplatform, fusion and dynamic ranging (weave and measure the bearing change) help provide a range measurement. And it is of course independent of RCS and EW.


As for the Bug integration, it's a little harder when you need a window looking forward.
 

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LowObservable said:
F-14D - Thanx. Good background - and note attached LM graphic showing that range exceeds radar.


I was never quite sure what got IRST thrown off ATF (or consigned to the future-upgrade list) but the basic line was "it didn't earn its way on board" - which may have meant that, at the time, the other sensors (LPI radar, EW and offboard) were considered enough to enable detection/track/ID without the attacker being detected. However, adversary RCS reduction and EW improvements will have moved those goalposts.



As for Selex (Pirate and Skyward-G), the story I hear is that processing has done a very good job of reducing false alarm rates in a cluttered environment (Europe). Multiplatform, fusion and dynamic ranging (weave and measure the bearing change) help provide a range measurement. And it is of course independent of RCS and EW.


As for the Bug integration, it's a little harder when you need a window looking forward.
I suspect IRST got removed from the F-22 because at the time USAF had a history and culture of not being a fan of non-radar issues r on fighters. Both Northrop and Lockheed's proposals envisioned IRST on production versions (I believe the F-22 would use an enhanced system developed from the AAS-42), and for NATF it was an absolute requirement. After the award, as development began, USAF decided it didn't want IRST that badly and so offered it up as a cost reduction measure. It shouldn't be forgotten that USAF also wanted to remove AIM-9 capability, arguing that since no one would get close enough to an F-22 where an AIM-9 would be relevant, they could reduce cots and complexity by just getting rid of it (Interestingly, though, they still would keep the gun).

Regarding the Super Bug, it's just about as big as the F-14D, yet somehow there's not room on the "more room for new systems" nose for the AN/AAS-42.
 

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F-14D said:
Regarding the Super Bug, it's just about as big as the F-14D, yet somehow there's not room on the "more room for new systems" nose for the AN/AAS-42.
Pretty sure the Tomcat's forward fuselage has a lot more volume.
 

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sferrin said:
F-14D said:
Regarding the Super Bug, it's just about as big as the F-14D, yet somehow there's not room on the "more room for new systems" nose for the AN/AAS-42.
Pretty sure the Tomcat's forward fuselage has a lot more volume.
Of course it does, a byproduct of accommodating that enormous antenna. I was just being snarky because back when the Super Bug was being pushed one of the things emphasized was how much more internal volume it had to accommodate future systems.

Getting back on topic, my previous post shows it fits quite nicely in a pylon, Low Observable's graphic show sit on the port intake station of an F-16 and this pic from the Aviationist shows it on an Aggressor F-16 on the starboard one. It's not that big, the reason USAF is putting "IRST21" in a centerline pod on the F-15C is because it enables them to carry other equipment they want to carry as well, not because they have to, as on the Super Hornet. These two pics show the difference in the size of the installation on the two aircraft, the Eagle carrying the IRST and other systems, the SH carrying the IRST and fuel.
 

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From an F-15C perspective, I feel if the Talon Hate pods were going to be a permanent fixture anyways then it makes a lot of sense to save the money on integration and strap on an IRST 21/SpectIR onto them
 

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Just found via Twitter, that Lockheed Martin has unveiled the Legion Pod. It is shown on F-15Cs and F-15Es so far, so it might me the LM's IRST- and Network upgrade proposal for the F-15 family.
Sensing and Networking for Targeting
Legion Pod is a multi-function sensor system that supports collaborative targeting operations in radar-denied environments. Flexible by design and production-ready, Legion Pod is set to serve as the next sensor system of choice for fixed-wing aircraft.
Using Lockheed Martin’s IRST21 sensor, networking and advanced processing technology, Legion Pod provides high-fidelity detection and tracking of air-to-air targets. Its plug-and-play architecture also makes it easily transportable across numerous platforms, including fighter and non-fighter aircraft.
Designed for flexibility, Legion Pod accommodates additional sensors within its current structure, acting as a multi-function sensor suite without costly aircraft or system modifications. This ensures it can meet both current and emerging customer requirements.
Housed in a 16-inch diameter structure, Legion Pod’s baseline configuration includes an advanced processor and datalink capability in addition to its infrared search and track technology. With capabilities unmatched by other targeting systems and the ability to accommodate additional sensors at low cost, Legion Pod fulfills warfighters’ critical needs and sets itself apart from the competition.
Link: Lockheed Martin - Legion Pod
 

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Why would you put your IR sensor into an external tank that you may need to dump for speed, agility and reduced weight?
 

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pathology_doc said:
Why would you put your IR sensor into an external tank that you may need to dump for speed, agility and reduced weight?
1. Dumping a pod this small is going to make very little difference in speed, agility or weight.

2. IRST in a pod is better than no IRST.
 

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Legion isn't that small (16 inches diameter, 98 inches long, roughly 550 pounds). But it's not just an ISRT either -- it's got a bunch of datalinks and room for other unspecified sensors (perhaps a next-gen HARM Targeting system, for example).

Putting expensive sensors in pods isn't exactly new -- Pave Tack ring a bell, anyone? You don't dump them unless it's that or losing the aircraft.
 

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Depending on the attachment system, it might be just plain impossible to eject anyway.
 

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Northrop Grumman unveils OpenPod IRST Sensor System as their IRST- and Network upgrade proposal for the F-15 family.
Links:
http://www.northropgrumman.com/MediaResources/MediaKits/OpenPod(TM)/Pages/default.aspx
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/northrop-unveils-openpod-as-usaf-seeks-f-15-irst-413022/
PDF:
http://www.northropgrumman.com/MediaResources/MediaKits/OpenPod(TM)/Documents/OpenPod.pdf
 

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Legion Pod Completes First Flight Test

7/1/2015

​Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod successfully tracked multiple airborne targets during its first flight test aboard an F-16 aircraft flying from the company’s Forth Worth, Texas, facility. The multi-function sensor system, which was integrated on the F-16 “without making any hardware or software changes to the aircraft,” is available to meet USAF requirements for the F-15C infrared search and track program of record, according to a June 30 company release. More flight tests are expected on both F-16s and F-15Cs this year. “With our most advanced hardware and software, a hot production line, and an established logistics depot, Legion Pod provides a high-performance, low-risk, affordable capability to warfighters today,” said Paul Lemmo, vice president of Lockheed’s missile and fire control
 

kcran567

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These pod systems are all hanging low underneath the aircraft. Are they meant more for ground targets, and lesser for air to air? It seems the entire top view of the IRST pod is going to be unable to "see" the front/top view above the aircraft fuselage and nose in turns and if a target is approaching from above.
 

bring_it_on

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kcran567 said:
These pod systems are all hanging low underneath the aircraft. Are they meant more for ground targets, and lesser for air to air? It seems the entire top view of the IRST pod is going to be unable to "see" the front/top view above the aircraft fuselage and nose in turns and if a target is approaching from above.
You can fly at higher altitudes and have multiple aircraft spaced when it comes to altitudes. I believe that these pods also have data links to share information with other pod users.
 

Pioneer

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John21 said:
The USAF is not currently considering adding, for example, the large area display or decoupled cockpits that Boeing is offering to international F-15E customers. "However, we continue to look for opportunities to leverage to meet the warfighter's needs," the F-15 SPO official says.
For the price of a couple of F-35s they could replace all the older CRT and LCD displays in our F-15s and F-16s, but noooooo...

I'm glad they're improving our older aircraft but it seems compared to new built F-15s for South Korea and Singapore & Saudi Arabia along with all those block 60+ F-16s being manufactured it is kind of lacking. Sure we have our 195 F-22s and F-35s but other countries will be buying and upgrading those F-35s while other countries develop and sell their own 4++ and 5th generation fighters.

The USAF also hopes to add an infrared search and track (IRST) capability to the F-15C, which could significantly boost the air-to-air capability of the venerable air superiority fighter. "The IRST program will restart in fiscal year 2015," the official says. But "the F-15E will not receive the IRST" because it is not primarily tasked with air-to-air missions.
We had IRST since the 1950s and had it on our F-14s, what the heck is taking so long for something many other countries develop, buy and use? Never should have gotten rid of our F-14s, we could have at least used its IRST or a design based off of it for improvements to our aircraft.
I like the way you think John21!! :p ;)
But may I add.......

Unfortunately and most regrettably the “infrared search and track (IRST) capability” on the F-15A/C Eagle is some 40 years too late! It could and should have been a part of the design during its design process (along with the intended and warranted all aspect AIM-82 or later AIM-95 Agile IR missile). But I guess with the USAF’s obsessive (and successful) cry of a ‘Fighter Gap’ (just as it had successfully done with its deliberate and orchestrated ‘Bomber and Missile Gap’ catch cry) in response to the Mig-25 ‘Foxbat’, its principle ability of close-in-air combat was hijacked by long-range (Aim-7F Sparrow’s) missiles!

Its ironic that the U.S. military and NATO was so surprised and concerned about the appearance of the MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’ equipped with its S-31E2 KOLS IRST in Finland in 1986. The fact that the USAF had known and employed IRST on its Convair F-102 Delta Dagger’s from 1956. And realistically, how long has it been since the USAF had access to the former East German MiG-29’s and seen and experienced firsthand how potent its IRST system is in dissimulated air combat, and yet the USAF are still only talking about introducing an IRST system 


Well hang on John21, why not consolidate cost (I know I know an oxymoron in the Pentagon's vocabulary ::) ) and introduce the intended F-35's CRT and LCD displays into these upgrades of the F-15 and F-16, which could then be removed and recycled back into the actual F-35 if and when the F-35 is truly deemed operational and able to effectively replace the F-16 in USAF service! :eek:

Regards
Pioneer
 

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It is not a coincidence the US Navy is much bigger on IRSTs than the USAF - the sea is a very benign environment with minimal infrared clutter.

IRSTs have serious issues with clutter. They cannot directly measures range or doppler and it is very, very difficult for a computer to distinguish the optical flow of the background from target motion. Prior to the 1990s (western, Russian IRSTs got the capability even later) IRSTs could not even be used for look-down shoot-down engagements overland. The IRSTs that were available during the cold war would have been essentially useless in the low altitude combat that was anticipated over Europe.
Radar provides more reliable tracks in general and far more reliable tracks in the presence of ground clutter. It is also largely independent of atmospheric effects. IRSTS can achieve some very impressive tracking ranges under good conditions especially between two aircraft at altitude. But the probability of say a 100km cloud free line of sight at the same time there is little or no haze is... much less good.
 

sferrin

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Pioneer said:
The fact that the USAF had known and employed IRST on its Convair F-102 Delta Dagger’s from 1956.
Funny thing is many US fighters have had IR sensors on them. In addition to the Tomcat and F-102 there was the F-101, F-106, F-4, F-8, XF-108, YF-12, and probably others I'm missing.
 

Jeb

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sferrin said:
Pioneer said:
The fact that the USAF had known and employed IRST on its Convair F-102 Delta Dagger’s from 1956.
Funny thing is many US fighters have had IR sensors on them. In addition to the Tomcat and F-102 there was the F-101, F-106, F-4, F-8, XF-108, YF-12, and probably others I'm missing.

I wonder how much functional use IRST got on those platforms? Except for the TCS on the F-14, it always seemed like RADAR was *the* sensor of choice.
 

sferrin

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Jeb said:
sferrin said:
Pioneer said:
The fact that the USAF had known and employed IRST on its Convair F-102 Delta Dagger’s from 1956.
Funny thing is many US fighters have had IR sensors on them. In addition to the Tomcat and F-102 there was the F-101, F-106, F-4, F-8, XF-108, YF-12, and probably others I'm missing.

I wonder how much functional use IRST got on those platforms? Except for the TCS on the F-14, it always seemed like RADAR was *the* sensor of choice.
That'd be a question for some of the older pilots over on F-16.net.
 
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