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