F-35 Sensor Makes First Flight on Test Bed

The sophisticated electro-optical targeting system under development for the F-35 strike fighter has made its first flight aboard a surrogate test aircraft, Lockheed Martin announced Monday. EOTS, as the passive sensor system is known, flew on the F-35’s cooperative avionics test bed, or CATBird, platform, which is a modified 737 aircraft. “The CATBird’s dynamic flight environment provides the first opportunity to test and evaluate how EOTS integrates into the F-35’s fused sensor architecture,” said Rich Hinkle, Lockheed’s EOTS program director. Test flights on CATBird represent the final step prior to EOTS integration on BF-4, an F-35 test aircraft equipped with the full suite of mission systems. Among its functions, EOTS will provide F-35 pilots with high-resolution imagery, automatic target tracking, and laser designation, all at standoff distances. Lockheed develops EOTS and is the F-35 prime contractor. (See EOTS imagery video)