Lockheed Martin to buy 22 electro-optical sensors to give F-35 pilots a spherical view of the environment

July 7, 2022
DAS collects real-time imagery from six infrared (IR) cameras mounted around the aircraft and sends it to the pilot’s helmet-mounted display.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – Combat aircraft experts at Lockheed Martin Corp. will buy 22 360-degree electro-optical sensor systems for the U.S. F-35 joint strike fighter under terms of a $22.6 million order announced on Tuesday.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics segment in Fort Worth, Texas, to procure 22 Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS) sensors for the F-35 systems technology refresh-3.

The contract also calls for Lockheed Martin to procure developmental and operational testing, block 4 testing, the Electromagnetic Environmental Effects aircraft, and a spare sensor set for F-35 next-generation capabilities.

The electro-optical DAS collects real-time, high-resolution imagery from six infrared (IR) cameras mounted around the aircraft and sends it to the pilot’s helmet-mounted display, providing a 360-degree spherical view of the environment.

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The next-generation electro-optical DAS is from the Raytheon Technologies Corp. Intelligence & Space segment in McKinney, Texas. The system's original manufacturer was Northrop Grumman Corp., but the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin switched suppliers of the system to Raytheon in mid-2018.

The Raytheon-built DAS sensor system will be integrated into F-35 aircraft starting with Lot 15 aircraft, expected to begin deliveries in 2023.

The electro-optical DAS is designed to warn the pilot of incoming enemy aircraft and missiles, daylight and nighttime vision; fire control; and precision tracking of nearby aircraft for tactical maneuvering.

Related: Lockheed Martin to build legacy electro-optical targeting avionics pods for U.S. allied combat aircraft

By projecting the DAS video stream into a helmet-mounted display, the F-35’s pilot can see through the aircraft structure to view the surrounding environment.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is the manufacturer of the F-35 jet fighter-bomber for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and allied air forces.

On this order Lockheed Martin and Raytheon will do the work in McKinney and Fort Worth, Texas, and should be finished by July 2023. For more information contact Lockheed Martin Aeronautics online at www.lockheedmartin.com, Raytheon Intelligence & Space at www.raytheonintelligenceandspace.com, or Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.

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