Boeing has selected Hughes Aircraft Co. (Sensors and Communications Systems), El Segundo, Calif., to develop an Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infra-Red (ATFLIR) sensor for the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet.
The program, potentially worth more than $900 million over its life, is expected to produce 574 shipsets (or units).
Award of the Engineering and Manufacturing Development contract is anticipated for February 1998. As part of this contract, Hughes would deliver 10 engineering development models to Boeing beginning in mid-1999 for qualification and flight testing. The contract would include options for the first two years of low-rate initial production (24 units in LRIP-1, 33 units in LRIP-2).
Initial operational capability is planned for mid-2002.
Boeing, as F/A-18 prime contractor, initiated source selection for the U.S. Navy in spring 1997. Five competitors were considered; they were narrowed to two finalists, who were notified of the final selection on Nov. 10.
"With the ATFLIR, the Hornet family will provide naval aviation with a vast improvement in detection and targeting capability that it requires to do its job in the next century," noted Pat Finneran, Boeing vice president and F/A-18 general manager.