Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: Advanced Targeting Forwar-Looking InfraRed
Origin: United States of America
BAE Systems and Raytheon
Parent System: AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2003
Total Production: 621
Total Cost: USD$1.9 billion
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Description: The ATFLIR is a pod-mounted infrared system developed for US Navy's and USMC's F/A-18C/D/E/F aircraft. ATFLIR features third generation mid-wave infrared targeting and navigation FLIRs, an electro-optical sensor, laser rangefinder, laser designator and laser spot tracker. These functions on today's Hornets are provided by three separate pods. Each production F/A-18E/F Super Hornet will be delivered to the US Navy with an ATFLIR pod installed. ATFLIR is a member of the Terminator family of infrared targeting pods. ATFLIR's reliability and maintainability outstands over previous generations FLIRs. Its powerful diode-pumped laser has been demonstrated effective above 50,000-ft (15,000 meters) The first system was delivered to the Navy in June 2002. The Block 1 ATFLIR advanced targeting pod achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in September 2003 with US Navy's F/A-18E/Fs. The targeting pod system was deployed for the first time on F/A-18C/D/E/F Hornet/Super Hornets in support of military operations in Iraq.
On 22 February 2005, Raytheon announced that ATFLIR program had entered full rate production and the company expected to deliver four pods per month to the Navy during 2005 and six pods per month beginning in 2006. Raytheon also stated that can produce up to 12 ATFLIRs per month to accommodate domestic customers and international sales demands. The US Navy awarded Raytheon a $275 million modification contract to a previous contract for procurement of 80 ATFLIR pods full rate production III on March 16, 2005, for the F/A-18A/B/C/D/E/F aircraft with deliveries expected to complete in March 2008.
In June 2005, Raytheon announced that was going to insert the most advanced high-speed data-link technology into the ATFLIR pod in accordance with the US Navy vision for network-centric operations. The new data-link will be based on the Ku-band frequency instead of C-band data-links carried by the majority of deployed targeting pods. Ku-band offers greater wideband (approx. 6 - 20 times faster than C-band) and two-way communications enabling near instantaneous communications with ground units and shipboard command and control systems. On 27 December 2005, Raytheon received a $76 million contract for the delivery of 38 full rate production Lot 4 ATFLIR advanced targeting pods for the F/A-18E/F aircraft. The contract was issued by the US Navy with production work scheduled for completion in November 2008.
The ATFLIR new data-link features a sophisticated encryption system and support for streaming video. The high-speed Ku-band may transmit video to ROVER III (Remote Operations Video Enhanced Receiver) man-portable ground stations.
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