Rockwell Collins’ FireStorm targeting system has demonstrated its interoperability with the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft during testing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, US.
The ground test and live flight was undertaken in collaboration with the UK F-35 Office at the base’s F-35 flight test facility. It saw a qualified British forward air controller (FAC) successfully guide the fifth-generation aircraft digitally using a complete air strike mission thread.
Rockwell Collins Surface Solutions vice-president and general manager Tommy Dodson said: "The FAC approached the test from a practical standpoint and was able to use the system under simulated tactical conditions.
"The test was also significant because FireStorm is currently fielded by the British Army, and has now been proven to be interoperable with the F-35."
The FireStorm consists of a lightweight and modular joint-fires system with a fully integrated set of hardware components. It is an integrated targeting system that is designed to enable FACs to accurately locate the enemy and generate coordinates to enable a precision strike.
Both joint terminal attack controllers (JTAC)/FAC are provided by that system. They provide proven digital connectivity with virtually all coalition aircraft, field artillery systems, and command-and-control centre battle managers.
FireStorm is available either as a complete turnkey solution, or as user-selected FireStorm hardware and software components for integration and enhancement of the in-service systems.
In its standard package, the system consists of a laser range finder, tactical PC, StrikeHawk video downlink receiver, joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) mobile networked joint fires digital targeting software, associated ancillaries, power management system and handheld azimuth augmentation unit.
FireStorm systems are carried in a vest pouch or uniform pocket. They are currently in use across the globe, including five Nato member states.
Image: A certified British forward air controller used Rockwell Collins’ FireStorm integrated targeting system to guide an F-35 aircraft on close air support flight test. Photo: courtesy of Copyright © 2015 Rockwell Collins.