The US Air Force (USAF) has selected Lockheed Martin-built Legion pod as the infrared search and track (IRST) system for its F-15C aircraft fleet.

The company is tasked with producing more than 130 systems for aircraft integration.

The Legion pod features Lockheed’s IRST21 infrared sensor and advanced data processing capabilities.

This multi-function sensor system has been designed to provide long-range detection and tracking of airborne threats in radar-denied environments.

The common interface of Legion pod allows it to be easily integrated onto any aircraft without affecting the aircraft’s operational flight programme.

"Legion pod will immediately enhance our warfighters' operations and address a passive attack capability gap."

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Fire Control / Special Operations Forces Contractor Logistics Support Services vice-president Paul Lemmo said: "With a rapid delivery schedule and unmatched sensing capabilities, Legion pod will immediately enhance our warfighters' operations and address a passive attack capability gap.

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"Our proven partnerships with Boeing, including on our US Navy F/A-18E / F IRST21 and international F-15 IRST products, will ensure successful execution of the F-15C Legion pod programme for the USAF."

Delivery of the first Legion pod is expected to take place next year, with plans to carry out additional deliveries in 2019.

By successfully demonstrating its integration, detection and tracking capabilities, Lockheed Martin has already completed more than 25 flight tests with Legion pod on the F-15C and F-16.

Boeing, which acts as the USAF’s prime contractor, source selection authority and aircraft integrator, is expected to award Lockheed Martin an engineering, manufacturing, development and production contract for Legion pod next year.