Northrop Grumman announced Wednesday that it has delivered the operational software package for the AN/AAQ-37 electro-optical distributed aperture system on the F-35 strike fighter. The delivery was made to Lockheed Martin, F-35 prime contractor, for integration on the stealth fighter once flight tests on surrogate platforms are complete. “This software delivery represents the final, full-performance, operational flight program-approved version, following an in-depth, eight-year product development and test phase,” said Mark Rossi, Northrop’s program development EO-DAS director. The AN/AAQ-37 is a high-resolution, omni-directional infrared sensor system that will provide F-35 pilots with advanced spherical situational awareness, including detection and tracking of missiles and threat aircraft. With DAS, the pilots will actually be able to see what’s underneath them through the floor of their aircraft.
Unlike nearly every other innovative technology throughout history, Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt believes the space enterprise emerged backward. “Every other domain started with an entrepreneur who built something,” Burt, the special assistant to the Chief of Space Operations, told an audience at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.