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Lockheed Martin is assembling a prototype “advanced” electro-optical targeting system proposed to replace the current production version on the F-35.

The company describe the Electro-Optical Targeting System as an “affordable, high-performance, lightweight, multi-function system that provides precision air-to-air and air-to-surface targeting capability”.

It has been reported that Lockheed director of business development for missiles and fire control Don Bolling says the proposed multispectral sensor will allow Lightning II operators to detect air and ground targets with greater clarity and at longer ranges, via short-wave infrared, high-definition television, infrared marker and image detector resolution enhancements.

The new targeting sensor was announced in 2015 and it is hoped that the sensor upgrade will be included on a list of new capabilities being considered by the F-35 Joint Programme Office for the Block 4 project, which starts in 2019.

Lockheed recently delivered the 200th EOTS sensor.

29 COMMENTS

    • USAF has already achieved initial operating capacity and the pilots like them, an F-35 with internal load carrying about the same quantity of munitions can still achieve it’s top speed compared to an F-16 that has to carry it’s munitions externally, hampering it’s top speed. The Harrier was good for the time but by today’s standards it’s slow, dangerous and hard to pilot, the F-35 trumps it in every way.

    • The only rep it has in the USA is among uninformed people using very out of date info, from the time where it was having development problems, those days are behind it and testing and delivery are on schedule.

    • What rep? As far as i can tell there was one negative ‘leak’about the f35 which went viral and everyone jumps on that without knowing a damn thing about airplanes or bothering to check the source for legitimacy or accuracy.

      Incidentally, there are several reports from expert pilots from various air forces noting opposing claims to the the negative ones, which quite frankly speaks volumes over those ‘armchair experts’ since they are the ones flying these aircraft in times of war.

    • very well, it appears I’m misinformed.
      Still, I’ll believe it when I see it, as with every other aircraft in history (From the Spit’ to the Mozzie to- ran out of other comparables).
      It’s cost the Yanks a mint to create though UK Defence Journal. That much can’t be denied. As for combat capacity? Only time will tell right?

    • Though I believe the USAF are on schedule with their own A variant orders too, and have done some close air support training with troops where it performed adequately, though admittedly not as much of a beast at it as the A-10 is.

    • So, as long as they get the GAU-12B working on it (which I read was still offline) then hopefully we will have something decent to tool the Prince of Wales up with? Or whichever QEII Class we got.

    • Yes, same concept as the 30mm ADEN external gun pod / ammo pod as previously fitted to the Harriers (though no need for a split design). Allows for flexibility, as the aircraft does not need to carry the weight of the gun / ammo if it is not required for the mission. The gun pods could be designed with as many signature reduction features (ie: stealth) as required.

    • Personally i preferred the Vickers Vimy. Nice open aired cockpit for those sunny days and I think the goggles looked cool!

  1. Trouble is the Americans are compering the f35 to the a10 without a doubt I think is better in its role but for us the UK it far exceeds the harriers plus our conversations are different in the role we want and plus shuuuuuu in the hands of the RAF well say no more 😜me I just can’t wait to see them flying over here as I live near RAF Marham which is going to be there new home πŸ‘

    • I agree, of course the US should keep the A-10 for pure CAS missions and not try to absolutely replace such an excellent design with the F-35, only complement. With the UK though this’ll dramatically increase our capability, with the array of inbuilt sensor suites performing an even better job than the current retrofitted equipment on our very capable Tornado jets.

  2. From what I have read the main issues that people are stating about the jet is in relation to its air to air capability. Whether true or not, we have no foreseeable need for it to perform that role and any issues will be ironed out over the years. If we had brought the A version, then I would be more concerned, but we have the typhoon for that role.

    The question is how does it perform as a ground attack / close air support platform. I think the fact that its top speed is far higher than the harrier is a huge positive, meaning it can get to where it is needed faster, when called on by the ground forces. The rest of the story will have to wait until we see them in service.

    No doubt there will be huge early issues with the plane, but they will get solved. People seem to forget that prior to the Falklands it was considered that the harrier was incapable of undertaking air to air warfare, but was forced into the role because of lack of other options and performed surprisingly well.

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