The stealth fighters carry a unique type of sensor that allows them to target the enemy in a passive mode i.e without emitting any radiation. This further ensures the radar cross-section of the fighter jet does not get la-di-da. This unique sensor is called ETOS (Electro-Optical Targeting System) and it has found its way into American F35 Lightning II and Chinese J20 stealth fighter. Russians on other hand did not attempt this complex sensor for its Su57 stealth fighter.
India is currently developing its next-generation fighter jet, Advance Medium Combat Aircraft and we reported earlier (here), AMCA will have this gem of the sensor under its nose. ETOS combines Infrared Search and Track (IRST) and Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) in one console. It enhances pilots’ situational awareness and allows aircrews to identify areas of interest, perform reconnaissance and precisely deliver laser and GPS-guided weapons. Additionally, this console is packed in the stealthy durable sapphire window that will ensure the stealth characteristics remain intact.
The DRDO ETOS test bed
The latest indicators suggest “that” sensor which was exclusively reported by us in October 2021 is now ready. In order to test the performance, it will now be mounted on a DRDO testbed and flight trials will start soon. DRDO has invited vendors to modify the flying testbed to carry two sensors under the nose providing 180-degree coverage on either side. The placement scheme can be seen in Image below.
The electro-optical sensors will be placed at an angle of -45 degrees on both the forward and rear sides. This will allow the coverage area to be maximum and keep the drag penalty under check. The scheme is also shown in the document shared by the DRDO (screengrab in the image below)
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