Northrop Grumman’s AN/AAQ-37 Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System, developed for the F-35 Lightning II, has added hostile ground fire detection to its capabilities by successfully detecting and locating tanks that were firing live rounds during preparations for a military exercise.
While being flown on Northrop Grumman’s BAC 1-11 test aircraft, the DAS detected and located tank fire from an operationally significant distance. In addition to artillery, the system is able to simultaneously detect and pinpoint the location of rockets and anti-aircraft artillery fired in a wide area.
The AN/AAQ-37 DAS provides passive spherical awareness for the F-35, detecting and tracking aircraft and missiles in every direction simultaneously, providing visual imagery for day or night navigation and targeting purposes.
“The DAS continues to show its ability to gather and analyze data for a wide range of missions not initially contemplated for this sensor system. These flight test results are just the latest example of the situational awareness capability of this revolutionary technology in action,” said Mark Rossi, Northrop Grumman’s DAS business area director.
Although hostile fire detection is not an F-35 requirement for the DAS, the system design makes it ideal for this mission. This inherent capability enables DAS to harvest, process and deliver key battlespace information to ground forces and other aircraft autonomously, without the need for cueing or increasing pilot workload. The ability to gather this live fire data expands the mission possibilities of the sensor to include close air support and ground fire targeting.