Lockheed Martin recently unveiled its new Legion Pod—a multi-function sensor system designed to be highly collaborative across platforms. The pod is available to support the F-15C’s infrared search and track capabilities, but also was built to be highly adaptable to future needs on new and existing aircraft. Speaking to reporters at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando on Feb. 12, Lockheed Martin officials said that as the US faces “more of a near-peer adversary,” for example in China and maybe Russia, the Air Force will need sensor technologies that can produce a “legion of capabilities” without taking up lots of space on an aircraft. The 16-inch diameter pod was designed to accommodate current and future payloads. It has a power distribution and self-sufficient cooling system. Lockheed said it allows “high-fidelity tracking without alerting the enemy, increasing operator workload,” or blacking out when jammed. The technology combines the existing IRST-21 with networking and advanced open architecture processing. Most importantly, said a company spokesman, it supports emerging fifth-to-fourth generation communication gateways. (Lockheed Martin release.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.