As new adversary fifth-generation stealth fighters such as the Russian Sukhoi Su-57 PAK-FA and the Chengdu J-20 emerge from development, the United States Navy is working on developing and fielding new capabilities that will allow naval aviators to defeat the threat.
The key is Boeing’s new F/A-18E/F Block III Super Hornet—and the advanced new technologies incorporated into the jet—combined with the upgraded capabilities of the Boeing/Lockheed Martin Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Block II pod. By upgrading older platforms with new datalinks, massively increased processing power and new sensors, Boeing and the Navy have found a way to negate the threat to carrier aviation from emerging low observable threat platforms. “IRST—infrared search and track long range counter-stealth targeting technology,” Dan Gillian, Boeing’s vice president of F/A-18 & EA-18 Programs for Strike, Surveillance and Mobility, told reporters on May 23. “This is filling a gap for the carrier air wing, bringing that sensor back to the carrier air wing in a networked kind of way.” Read More..