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)
These are the complete remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 3, 2022, in Simi Valley, Calif.