JED - February 2016 - (Page 42)

TH E H E AT I S O N I n f r a r e d S ea rc h a n d Tr ack S ys tem s i n Mod e r n A i r Com ba t By Burt Keirstead H The Journal of Electronic Defense | February 2016 42 its full complement of equipment, including its radar and elecello JED readers! Hopefully, you caught my focus tronic warfare system, it will never be in a dogfight. With its from the title of this new quarterly column. It's radar, the F-35 has the capability to find and jam enemy airabout a tiny part of the electromagnetic spectrum craft well beyond "dogfighting range." (EMS) that is near and dear to me - the infraAs an infrared device, looking for heat, the IRST is limited red - and how this part of the spectrum can be by intervening atmosphere that absorbs and scatters the heat exploited in defense applications. There will be signatures of targets and limits the IRST detection range to some "dB speak" on occasion, but I hope to keep things light, something typically less than that of a radar. And, as a passive entertaining and relevant. (receive-only) system, the IRST is unable to detect range and This month, I'm doing a riff on airborne infrared search and range rate of the target as easily as a radar system. Because of track (IRST) systems. Just as the name implies, an IRST system these limitations, the IRST has a secondary role in any engageis designed to search for, and then track, targets with infrared ment predicated on finding, targeting and killing the other emissions, (i.e., heat signatures). Defensively, an airborne IRST guy, long before he's ever found you. The IRST is only likely looks for enemy aircraft and enemy missiles. It can also conto come into play at shorter ranges, where it might enable a tribute to offensive capability by helping to target missiles. In silent attack coordinated with infrared missiles. Bottom line: the last few years there has been heightened interest in IRST because the IRST technology was not an integral part of the capability on older generation aircraft, like the F-15, to en"First Look, First Shot, First Kill" capability desired for the sure operation in a radar-denied environment, now that digital radio frequency memory (DRFM) technology has proliferated and our adversaries have more radar jamming capability. On my first project as a young engineer in theĀ  1980s, I worked on an IRST system being designed for the F-15C/D. After all these years, the F-15 still does not have an IRST, and I'm wondering why. Two contributing factors come to mind: * the IRST system has, up to now, had lower operational priority than a radar, and * the IRST function, which is to passively detect targets with high probability and low false alarms, is difficult to do. Consider the lower IRST operational priority: Last year there was a hue and cry over an F-35 flight test report. In a somewhat orthogonal way, the report, which described the F-35 losing dogfights to an F-16, helps put IRST operational utility in perspective. Critics of the F-35, who jump on the controversial report to cite an operational deficiency, miss the A Luftwaffe MiG-29 stands on the flightline during a Maple Flag training exercise at Canada's Cold Lake EW range. The Fulcrum's S-31E2 KOLS IRST sensor is visible just in front of the point that if the F-35 is operating with cockpit. (DOD photo)

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - February 2016

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
Alternatives to Positioning, Navigation and Timing
Future Operating Environment 2035
Technology Survey: FPGA Boards
The Heat is On
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - February 2016

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