The US Navy has awarded a $69 million contract to Boeing for low-rate initial production of 15 Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) systems and spares.
The contract is said to cover production of 14 ATFLIRS for the F/A-18E/FSuper Hornet and one for the F/A-18C/D Hornet. Developmental testing on thisthird-generation FLIR has been under way at Boeing facilities since 1998.
‘The ATFLIR will be more reliable than today’s system and significantlymore capable,’ said Tony Parasida, Boeing vice president for the F/A-18program. ‘Pilots are looking forward to the ATFLIR’s enhanced detectionranges and greater designation and stand-off ranges.’
The ATFLIR will replace the existing electro-optic sensor suite, combiningseparate navigation FLIR and targeting FLIR pods into one pod, freeing up oneweapon station.
The ATFLIR also includes a visible light camera (electro-optic sensor). The third-generation FLIR will provide the capability to detect, classify and track both air-to-air and air-to-surface targets and will support the autonomous delivery of existing laser-guided weapons and emerging stand-off weapons.
Boeing awarded a contract for development of the ATFLIR to Raytheon, thenHughes Aircraft Co., in 1998. The program, worth a potential $900 million, is expected to produce 574 units.
Early operational capability is planned for mid-2002 in conjunction with the firstdeployment of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Boeing has so far delivered 44 Super Hornets to the US Navy, who plan to purchase a minimum of 548 of the aircraft.