Boeing and U.S. Navy complete first Super Hornet IRST Block II flight

An F/A-18 Super Hornet equipped with a Block II Infrared Search and Track prepares for its first flight with the long-range sensor.

In late 2019 and for the first time, Boeing and the U.S. Navy flew an F/A-18 Super Hornet equipped with an Infrared Search & Track (IRST) Block II pod. IRST Block II is a critical component of the Block III Super Hornet. The Block III conversion will include enhanced network capability, longer range with conformal fuel tanks, an advanced cockpit system, signature improvements and an enhanced communication system. The updates are expected to keep the F/A-18 in active service for decades to come.

IRST is a passive, long-range sensor incorporating infrared and other sensor technologies for highly accurate targeting. Currently in the risk reduction phase of development, IRST Block II flights on the Super Hornet allow Boeing and the Navy to collect valuable data on the system before deployment to the fleet.

The Block II variant will be delivered to the Navy in 2021, reaching Initial Operational Capability shortly thereafter.

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