Lockheed Martin said today it has developed an advanced version of the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) used in the F-35 Lightning II. The Advanced EOTS offers higher resolution and improved multi-spectral sensing. The development was funded through internal investment and was vetted through Operational Analysis against the most demanding F-35 missions. The Advanced EOTS includes a larger aperture and provides pilots with multi-spectral sensing options such as high-resolution Mid-Wave IR, Short-Wave IR and Near IR. Utilizing the same volume and weight, Advanced EOTS is effortless to integrate into the F-35 Lightning II with the “plug and play” feature.

A comparison between the basic EOTS and Advanced EOTS shows the dramatic improvement of the new system. Photo: Lockheed Martin

EOTS combines forward-looking infrared and infrared search and track functionality to support the pilot both in air-to-air and air-to-ground, in day and night conditions. EOTS allows aircrews to identify areas of interest, perform reconnaissance and precisely deliver laser and GPS-guided weapons

Unlike the 360 degrees Distributed Aperture System and new large Area Display (LAD) that were modernized through alternative sourcing, Lockheed Martin developed the A-EOTS as a company-funded initiative, that that is offered as an option for future modernization, and not under the cost-cutting initiative. The company said it will integrate Advanced EOTS on F-35s, should customers require the upgrade as part of F-35 follow on modernization.

According to the company, the new system provides higher performance at lower operating cost, compared to the EOTS currently used with the F-35. With increased reliability and reduced costs per operating hour, Advanced EOTS is expected to save more than a billion US$ for users over the system’s life span. The EOTS uses a low-drag, low weight package integrated into the F-35 Lightning II’s fuselage with a durable sapphire window. The system is linked to the aircraft’s integrated central computer through a high-speed fiber-optic interface.

As the first sensor to combine forward-looking infrared and infrared search and track functionality, EOTS enhances F-35 pilots’ situational awareness and allows aircrews to identify areas of interest, perform reconnaissance and precisely deliver laser and GPS-guided weapons. Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 500 systems for all F-35 Lightning II aircraft delivered to US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, and foreign air forces.

Advanced EOTS, an evolutionary electro-optical targeting system, is available for the F-35’s Block 4 development. Designed to replace EOTS, Advanced EOTS incorporates a wide range of enhancements and upgrades, including short-wave infrared, high-definition television, an infrared marker, and improved image detector resolution. These enhancements increase F-35 pilots’ recognition and detection ranges, enabling greater overall targeting performance.