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24 Feb 12. Lockheed Martin’s SpectIR transportable infrared search and track (IRST) pod successfully acquired, tracked and provided a weapons cue during a recent live fire flight test conducted by the Air National Guard (ANG). The SpectIR pod successfully acquired the target on the first pass and maintained a tight track throughout the engagement, providing the pilot with a passive, weapons-quality cue that enabled weapon employment. By incorporating IRST capabilities into a pod form, the SpectIR system provides long-range, passive infrared detection and tracking of airborne threats in a transportable configuration. “As part of a risk reduction effort for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and ANG programs, this test demonstrated the SpectIR IRST system’s ability to provide warfighters with increased situational awareness, survivability and target engagement in stressing electronic attack environments,” said Paul Hey, SpectIR senior program manager in Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control business. The SpectIR IRST system is planned across numerous platforms. For the U.S. Navy F/A-18 E/F, the SpectIR sensor is mounted in the centerline fuel tank. The transportable pod format provides plug-and-play use for the F-15, F-16 and other platforms.

21 Feb 12. The US Army Space and Missile Defense Command / Army Forces Strategic Command (SMDC/ARST) has completed flight testing of the newly developed Economical Target-1 (ET-1) missile at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, US. The missile met all data collection objectives following its launch by the 25K transportable target launcher (25K TTL) from the Santa Rosa test site into the ocean area within the test range. During the testing, the target missile’s flight trajectory was tracked by several sensors, including the Weibel radar system, a portable system owned and operated by Eglin Air Force Base that is known for providing detailed tracking and performance data. Designed to fill capability gaps for representative threat targets during testing, the ET-1 is a threat representative tactical ballistic missile that provides reduced target cost impact for operational test and evaluation systems and can also be used to test the Patriot Advanced Concept-3 (PAC-3) missile system. The ET-1 was developed by the US Army in collaboration with the US Air Force (USAF) as a combination of excess government furnished equipment (GFE).
(Source: airforcetechnology.com)

21 Feb 12. The Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) recently achieved a first shot success from a fixed-wing aircraft, BAE Systems announced. The semi-active laser guided version of the U.S. military’s Hydra rocket successfully hit within inches of the center of its laser spot target after it was fired off a Hawker Beechcraft AT-6C from a range of three miles. This successful test, which BAE Systems accomplished in record time, highlights the potential of APKWS as a low-cost weapon system for reconnaissance and attack aircraft throughout the world. This APKWS flight test, which was held in late January at the Eglin AFB test range in Florida, demonstrated the “unpack and shoot” flexibility of the weapon system. During the testing, BAE Systems personnel were able to quickly convert unguided Hydras supplied by the U.S. Air Force into APKWS guided munitions and load them onto the aircraft. It took just three hours to assemble two test rounds, load them into the aircraft launchers, fly the mission, and complete the successful shot. Immediately prior to the guided rocket shot, an unguided round in the same launcher was fired to demonstrate the robust APKWS advantage of its sealed, mid-body design to withstand the harsh, real-world environment of adjacent rocket firings. In addition, BAE Systems is upgrading the APKWS design to operate in the expanded flight envelopes of high-performance Navy and Air Force aircraft under contract for the Fixed-Wing APKWS Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program.

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