Raytheon to upgrade Special Operations combat helicopters with latest infrared sensor technology

BY John Keller

FORT EUSTIS, Va.—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 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.

Raytheon will upgrade the AN/ZSQ-2 electro-optical sensors, shown above, with third-generation FLIR engines

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.

FOR MORE INFORMATION visit Raytheon Network Centric Systems online at www.raytheon.com/businesses/ncs.

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