FORT EUSTIS, Va., 5 Aug. 2011. Aviation experts in the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) are looking to the Raytheon Co. Network Centric Systems segment in McKinney, Texas, to produce two upgraded versions of the AN/ZSQ-2 electro-optical sensor system for the Boeing MH-47G and Sikorsky MH-60M special-operations helicopters in the U.S. Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment-Airborne -- better-known as SOAR(A) -- at Fort Campbell, Ky. The two different versions of the AN/ZSQ-2 sensor are for assault and attack.
Raytheon won a $21 million contract Thursday from the USSOCOM Technology Applications Contracting Office (TAKO) at Fort Eustis, Va., to replace the existing forward-looking infrared (FLIR) engine in the AN/ZSQ-2 electro-optical sensors with third-generation FLIR engines.
Raytheon engineers must produce two different AN/ZSQ-2 sensor packages -- one for attack, and the other for assault -- for the 160th aviation regiment's MH-47G and MH-60M helicopters because the two different missions require different sizes and have different payload restrictions.
The Raytheon AN/ZSQ-2 electro-optical sensor system is part of the company's Multi-Spectral Targeting System (MTS) family of sensors for target detecting, ranging, and tracking. The sensor system is packaged in a turreted or forward-looking pod combining electro-optical and infrared sensors, as well as full-motion video camera for long-range surveillance and high-altitude target acquisition, tracking, and laser designation.
The sensor pod is capable of integrating multiple-wavelength sensors, near-infrared and color TV cameras, target illuminators, eyesafe laser range finders, image merging capability, spot trackers, and other kinds of avionics, Raytheon officials say. The AN/ZSQ-2 can laser-designate targets for the AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missile, the Paveway laser-guided bomb, and other U.S. and NATO laser-guided munitions.