26 Juli 2017
RMAF F/A-18D Hornet after upgrade (photos : RMAF, SYark)
Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS)
The JHMCS combines a magnetic head tracker with a display projected onto a pilot’s visor, giving the pilot targeting information he needs to prosecute a target. It does this by synchronising the aircraft’s sensors with the user’s head movements so that they automatically point to where the pilot is looking. Pilots can also view any desired data (airspeed, altitude, target range, etc.) while ‘heads-up’, eliminating the need to look inside the cockpit during visual air combat.
The AIM-9X continues the legacy of the AIM-9M in the RMAF F/A-18D Hornet inventory and operations. All AIM-9 versions are ‘heat-homers’, first designed back in the 1950s. AIM-9X now has all-moving control surfaces in the front and rear. While the AIM-9M is a third-generation infrared-guided missile, the AIM-9X is a fifth-generation, all-aspect missile. This digital, field reprogrammable missile has agile, thrust-vector control, a new processor, autopilot, a full envelope, off-boresight capability and high-resolution imaging infrared seeker. Combined with the JHMCS, the AIM-9X makes the RMAF F/A-18D Hornet a particularly lethal air-to-air adversary.
Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM)
The Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) is a guidance kit that converts unguided bombs into all-weather, ‘smart’ bombs. JDAM bombs are guided by an integrated inertial guidance system linked to a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver. Now, the aircrew only has to insert the coordinates of the target, fly at very high altitudes and drop the bombs. Their delivery is unconstrained by the weather, smoke or any other atmospheric conditions that would normally prevent the delivery of laser- or optically-guided weapons.
Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared (ATFLIR)
ATFLIR is a multi-sensor, electro-optical targeting pod incorporating a thermographic camera. Compared with the previous Nitehawk FLIR used by the RMAF’s F/A-18D Hornets, ATFLIR now has a low-light television camera, target laser range finder, laser designator, laser spot tracker and IR marker. It is the world’s first Generation III Targeting FLIR, developed in response to a requirement for the aircrew to be able to acquire a target with improved target recognition and at a greater stand-off ranges.