[Video] F-35 sensor capable of detecting hostile ground fire

The Distributed Aperture System (DAS)  is going to be one of the key sensors of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

Developed by Northrop Grumman, the electro-optical DAS (EO DAS) surrounds the aircraft with a 360 degree, spherical situational awareness systems capable of detecting threats: incoming enemy aircraft, missiles, and hostile ground fire.

F-35 ground fire

In fact, during a test flown on Northrop Grumman’s BAC 1-11 test aircraft, the F-35’s DAS detected and located tanks that were firing live rounds during a military exercise. Hostile fire detection makes the aircraft capable to simultaneosly detect and pinpoint anti-aircraft artillery and rocket fired in a wide area: the location from where the hostile fire originates can be gathered and then shared with ground forces, other aircraft or simply used to deliver with GPS precision some air-to-surface weapons.

Designated AN/AAQ-37, the full EO DAS suite comprises six electro-optical sensors, that will not only warn the pilot of enemy planes, missiles, AAA, but will also provide day/night vision, support the various navigation function of the F-35’s forward-looking infrared sensor, and precision tracking of nearby friendly traffic for tactical maneuvering.

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.