Combating the Evolving Threats of Tomorrow
By Lieutenant Eric Zilberman, U.S. Navy
The addition of the infrared search-and-track (IRST) pod to the Super Hornet is an initiative to create a modular, cost-effective upgrade to the existing fleet of Super Hornets. IRST significantly increases air-to-air lethality while assuring interoperability with existing systems. Historically, IRST systems have been used on naval assets dating back as far as the 1960s on aircraft such as the F-4 Phantom. Most recently, the venerable F-14 Tomcat incorporated an IRST pod in its mission-systems suite and proved its utility and applicability during countless hours of maintaining air dominance against fourth-generation threats employing electronic-attack. This cutting-edge technology has allowed the United States to maintain air-to-air superiority throughout decades of conflict. Today many threat nations also incorporate IRST systems in their fighter aircraft. To maintain our airborne tactical advantage and outpace future threats, we must continually upgrade our Fleet aircraft with the best possible systems.