Friday, February 23, 2024

The IRST Block II pod of the Super Hornet marks the return of passive detection in the US Navy

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Last week, Boeing announced in a press release a US Navy Super Hornet The aircraft would apparently be one of two test beds used for the development of the new variant of the Super Hornet , the Block III, which is expected to achieve initial operational capability by the end of 2021. If the first flight of external equipment may appear at first glance to be quite trivial, the operational integration of an IRST under a US Navy aircraft actually demonstrates a profound upheaval in the doctrine of air combat within the American forces.

IRST, for Infrared Search and Track, is optronic equipment capable of carrying out infrared monitoring and therefore detecting the heat produced by planes, ships, armored vehicles or buildings. Unlike a radar, which emits waves and records their echo, IRSTs work passively, without any radio or light emissions. As long as a fighter operates with the radar turned off and in radio silence, the IRST therefore makes it possible to detect aircraft without revealing its presence, even at distances of several tens of kilometers.

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Blk2 IRST med res Defense Analyzes | Fighter aircraft | Military aircraft construction
One of two Super Hornet used for Block III standard testing. We can clearly see the black tip of the IRST on the belly canister of the plane.
LOGO meta defense 70 Analyzes Defense | Fighter aircraft | Military aircraft construction

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Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolf
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

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