(c) K.B. Sherman, 2002
Lockheed Martin (Orlando, FL) has received an order from The Boeing Company to produce the advanced TIGER Eyes Sensor Suite for F-15K fighter jets recently ordered by the Republic of Korea Air Force. TIGER Eyes will provide these aircraft with enhanced targeting, navigation, terrain following and Infrared Search & Track (IRST) capability.
An evolution of LANTIRN and US Navy’s IRST air-to-air threat-detection technology, TIGER Eyes enables fighter aircraft aircrews to fly and engage the enemy day or night, in good weather or bad. In addition to supplying the targeting pod, navigation pod and IRST system hardware, the award includes training, spares, and logistic support.
TIGER Eyes is both a navigation system and a targeting and Infrared Search and Track system.
The TIGER Eyes Sensor Suite includes mid-wave staring array Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) navigation pods with terrain following radar, mid-wave staring array FLIR targeting pods with a 40,000-foot laser and Charge Couple Device (CCD) TV, and a long range IRST system. The targeting pod design facilitates the precision delivery of air-to-ground weapons at the longer ranges of today's precision weapons. The TV complements FLIR capability during daylight operation.
IRST, a pylon-mounted version similar to the U.S. Navy F-14 IRST system, allows pilots to detect and assess long-range airborne threats. A passive long-wave infrared sensor system searches for and detects heat sources within its field of view, significantly enhancing engagement range.
“Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) will produce the TIGER Eyes Sensor Suite in several locations,” said Lockheed spokeswoman Nettie Johnson. Manufacturing will done by MFC (Orlando and Ocala, FL); by Lockheed Martin Information Systems (Orlando); Focal Plane Inc. (Santa Barbara, CA); and Lockheed Martin Systems Integration (Owego, NY).
At this time the number of units to be produced and what ROKAF squadrons will be equipped has not been made public. Initial training for the Korean crews will occur in Orlando.
“Tiger Eyes is an improvement over what the ROKAF now has,” continued Johnson. “Strengths of the TIGER Eyes system include mid-wave staring array Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) navigation pods with terrain-following radar, usable from 40,000 feet, plus a Charge Couple Device (CCD) TV and a longer-range IRST system.”
The value of this contract to Lockheed Martin is $ 163.4 million. Units are to be delivered in 2004 - 2005.
Follow-up business is expected, and Lockheed Martin is marketing TIGER Eyes to domestic and international customers who currently use the LANTIRN (Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night) system, which includes both the US and twelve international air forces. TIGER Eyes is one project of Lockheed Martin’s Combat Vision Center, along with Sniper XR, PANTERA, Joint Strike Fighter Electro-Optical Sensor System, and NITE Hawk.