Northrop Grumman has responded to US Air Force interest in an infrared search and track (IRST) capability for its F-15C Eagle by unveiling OpenPod, a reconfigurable sensor pod which the company says is already being flight tested on a tactical military aircraft. Northrop’s system would employ an IRST produced by Italy’s Selex ES, owned by Finmeccanica.
The front end of the rail-mounted pod can be swapped out between sorties to host either an IRST, light detection and ranging (LIDAR), targeting, or communications payload.
James Mocarski, Northrop’s vice president of airborne tactical sensors, says OpenPod is the company’s answer to an unspecified air force sources-sought notice for an IRST system. It could also host the air force’s planned Maps System, a capability that will allow F-22s and F-35s to exchange tactical information with legacy fighters, he says.