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Lockheed Martin selects Raytheon to supply F-35 sensor system

19 Jun 2018

Distributed Aperture System collects high-resolution imagery to pilot's HUD from six IR cameras around aircraft.

Aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin has selected Raytheon to develop and deliver the next-generation Distributed Aperture System for the long-awaited F-35 fighter jet. The result of a Lockheed Martin-led competition, the selection will enhance capability and reduce cost, commented the partners. Financial terms of the deal were not released

The F-35's DAS collects and sends high resolution, real-time imagery to the pilot's helmet from six infrared cameras mounted around the aircraft, allowing pilots to see the environment around them – whether day or night. With the ability to detect and track threats from any angle, the F-35 DAS gives pilots unprecedented situational awareness of the battlespace.

"The supply chain competition for the next generation F-35 Distributed Aperture System resulted in significant cost savings, reliability and performance improvements," commented Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of the F-35 program.

"We are aggressively pursuing cost reduction across the F-35 enterprise and this initiative is a clear demonstration of our unrelenting commitment to reduce costs and deliver transformational capabilities for the warfighter."

Lower cost; higher spec

The Raytheon-built DAS will be integrated into F-35 aircraft starting with Lot 15 aircraft, expected to begin deliveries in 2023. The next generation DAS system is estimated to generate the following results compared to the current system:

  • More than $3 billion in life cycle cost savings
  • Approximately 45 percent reduction in unit recurring cost
  • Greater than 50 percent reduction in operations and sustainment cost
  • Fibve times greater reliability
  • 2x performance capability improvement

The new system will also indirectly benefit aircraft readiness and service manpower requirements.

"Raytheon's solution delivers next generation capability for the fifth generation F-35," said Roy Azevedo vice president of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. "Our focus is on providing pilots with every tactical advantage imaginable while ensuring taxpayers receive the best value possible."

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