F-15 puts tracking-system-assisted missile on target

The 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., conducted the first-ever live fire of an Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile using an Infrared Search-and-Track system, at Eglin Aug. 5, 2021.

The F-15C Eagle, equipped with a Legion Pod IRST Block 1.5 system successfully hitting a QF-16 aerial target. The IRST’s target tracking capability combined with the APG-63v3 RADAR to datalink the target location to the AIM-120 to put the weapon on target.

The test’s successful was significant because an F-15 equipped with an IRST-cued AIM-120 enables aircrews to achieve detection, tracking, targeting, weapons employment and verification of an intercept without being dependent upon RADAR energy, according to Maj. Brian Davis, 85th TES chief of air-to-air weapons and tactics.

The test proves DOD and the Air Force’s capabilities to target an aircraft outside of the traditional radar electromagnetic spectrum, according to Lt. Col. Jacob Lindaman, the 85th TES commander.

Almost a year ago, the Air Force passed two other IRST milestones: the first missile shot of an AIM-9X using the Legion Pod on an F-15C and the first flight of a Legion Pod-equipped F-16.

The 85th TES is a subordinate unit of the 53rd Wing at Eglin, which reports to the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis AFB, Nev.

(Air Force photograph by 1st Lt. Lindsey Heflin)


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