EL SEGUNDO, Calif., July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Through June 30, 2004,
Raytheon Company had delivered 55 of what might be considered the ultimate
accessory to aircrews of the U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet.
The ASQ-228 Advanced Targeting Forward-looking Infrared (ATFLIR) targeting
pod, developed and manufactured by Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems (SAS),
is currently forward deployed to Super Hornet and F/A-18C Hornet squadrons now
on cruise in support of continuing operations overseas. ATFLIR is the
Department of the Navy's targeting pod of record, and the service plans to
procure up to 574 pods for deployment on every F/A-18 configuration in the
ATFLIR gives naval aviators a three- to five-fold increase in target-
recognition range. Its infrared and electro-optical (television format)
sensors can detect tactical threats at unprecedented ranges, delivering images
that are three to five times clearer than those afforded by any other
targeting pod now in production. Its powerful diode-pumped laser has been
demonstrated effective above 50,000 feet. Because its sensors and laser share
a common optical path with continuous auto-boresight alignment, only ATFLIR
assures pinpoint targeting accuracy that minimizes collateral damage.
"Naval aviators want them as fast as they can get them," Debbie Ybarra,
Raytheon's ATFLIR program director, said. "ATFLIR met every tactical
objective in missions flown during Operations Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom
and Enduring Freedom. We were able to supply the Navy with some pods with an
early-operational-capability configuration, and the aircrews were extremely
enthusiastic about the performance."
The single ATFLIR pod encompasses all imaging and targeting functions
currently requiring three separate pods on the F/A-18. This liberates one air-
to-air weapons station for other mission requirements. Fully integrated on all
models of the F/A-18 Hornet, ATFLIR is approved for international sales. In
both air-to-ground and air-to-air operational missions, ATFLIR will be used to
perform precision engagement and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
tasks. Primary air-to-ground missions include precision strike warfare
employing weapons guided by laser and global positioning systems, forward air
controller airborne, close air support, low-altitude night navigation and
real-time battle damage assessment.
Raytheon Company's Space and Airborne Systems (SAS) designs, develops and
manufactures advanced systems for precision engagement; missile defense; and
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Headquartered in El Segundo,
Calif., SAS has 11,000 employees and additional facilities in Goleta, Calif.;
Forest, Miss.; Dallas, McKinney and Plano, Texas; and several international
Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN), with 2003 sales of $18.1 billion, is an
industry leader in defense and government electronics, space, information
technology, technical services, and business and special mission aircraft.
With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 78,000 people worldwide.
SOURCE: Raytheon Company
Web site: http://www.raytheon.com/