Wednesday, November 14, 2007

ATFLIR: CVW-1 Gets New Targeting System

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph R. Wax, USS Enterprise Public Affairs/Fleet Public Affairs Center, Atlantic

Military technology serves many purposes including keeping our Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Airman safe. USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 are currently deployed with a new targeting system for its F/A-18s designed to do just that.

The ASQ-228 Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) system is an upgrade from the (targeting) TFLIR system previously used. It increases the altitude that the pilots can safely and effectively use their weapons.

"It operates at 25,000 feet," said Chief Aviation Electronics Technician (AW/SW) Terry Brown, a branch leading chief petty officer for Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD). "The older version had a lower ceiling. The higher altitude keeps the pilots safer."

The new system is also an upgrade to the targeting view finder, which allows the pilots to more accurately hit their targets.

"The new view mode isn't just infrared," said Marine Cpl. Giovanni Velasco, a FLIR tech in AIMD's IM-3 shop. "It has a TV mode allowing the pilot to watch it as it happens."

The troops on the ground have access to the same picture the pilots are looking at to ensure the right targets are being hit.

According to Velasco, when infantry call calls for back-up now, troops on the ground can watch the same thing as the pilots. The higher resolution allows for more effective identification of the intended target.

Enterprise was the second carrier to deploy with the new targeting system. There are currently 38 pods on board active with the new system. The technicians in the radar and FLIR shop spend countless hours ensuring they are ready to go.

"It takes about 12 hours to take apart[the pod], and 12 more to put it back together," said Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class (AW) Darryn Lubonski, an AIMD FLIR technician. "Total it takes about one week to get online."

The length of time spent working on the new systems is directly related to how detailed and delicate a process it is.

The new ATFLIR system has one screw that literally takes two hours to put in according to Lubonski. "Because of its location, we can only turn it one-eighth of a turn each time, he said"

The technicians in Enterprise's Radar and FLIR shop aren't just making the pilots jobs safer and more effective; they are saving the Navy millions of dollars.

According to Velasco, the Enterprise technicians have saved the Navy more than $5 million doing the work on the new systems themselves instead of having them shipped off to be worked on by civilian contractors.