February 2, 2012

Boeing's Distributed Targeting System provides enhanced situational awareness for Super Hornet aircrews

News Report

As announced in a recent press release, Boeing has started production of the new Distributed Targeting System (DTS) for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighter. DTS provides enhanced targeting capability for the Super Hornet. It is part of the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18E/F Network Centric Warfare Upgrades program and the F/A-18E/F Flight Plan, which will ensure that the Super Hornet remains ahead of emerging threats in coming decades.

The U.S. Navy granted approval for Low Rate Initial Production of DTS following successful completion of initial operational assessment flight testing at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif., and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., between September 2010 and March 2011. Air Test and Evaluation Squadrons VX-31 and VX-23 conducted the tests. DTS is on schedule to achieve Initial Operational Capability in January 2013.

The Technology

Boeing's Distributed Targeting System uses onboard hardware and software processing to produce precise targeting solutions for Super Hornet aircrews.

The DTS upgrade adds an image-exploitation processor and mass memory unit. The system compares synthetic-aperture radar maps from the aircraft’s active-array radar with stored geo-registered SAR maps and generates precise target coordinates for GPS-guided weapons. DTS enhances Super Hornet aircrews’ situational awareness when engaging air-to-ground targets.


Distributed Targeting will continue to expand the Super Hornet’s already advanced multirole capability for the warfighter,” said Kory Mathews, F/A-18 and EA-18 Programs vice president for Boeing after the first tests of the system in 2010. “Distributed Targeting is a powerful tool that will provide Super Hornet aircrews with highly precise targeting capability when identifying and engaging ground target sets. This is another phase of our evolutionary approach to continuous capability enhancement for the Navy’s combat-proven Super Hornet.

Distributed targeting is going to be a real game-changer for Super Hornet aircrews,” said Kevin Fogarty, Boeing F/A-18 and EA-18G Mission Systems director. “DTS increases pilot and aircrew situational awareness and precision targeting when engaging air-to-ground targets, in part by using geo-registration technology.”.

The Context

The U.S. Navy F/A-18 E and F Super Hornet maritime strike attack aircraft, manufactured by Boeing, flew for the first time on November 29, 1995. In May 2009, Boeing received a contract worth $48.9m for the development of Distributed Targeting System for the Super Hornet aircraft.

References: Boeing (1,2), AirForce Technology (3)

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