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AAS-38A/B Nite Hawk

The Lockheed Martin [ex Loral ex Ford Aerospace] AAS-38A/B Nite Hawk forward-looking infrared (FLIR) is the Night Attack Hornet [F/A-18C and F/A-18D] laser target designation system for laser-guided munitions delivery. Mounted on the port fuselage (Station 4), the AAS-38 enhances the Hornet's night attack capability by providing real-time Forward Looking Infrared [FLIR] thermal imagery displayed on one of the cockpit CRTs and HUD. The AAS-38 FLIR can be fully integrated with other Hornet avionics, and data from the unit is used for the calculation of weapons release solutions. Only four of these were available during the Gulf War, seeing service with VMFA(AW)-121. The improved AAS-38A Laser Target Designator/Rangefinder (LTD/R) was cleared for Fleet service on Hornet-C/Ds in January 1993.

The Martin-Marietta ASQ-173 laser detector tracter/camera (LDT/CAM), a derivative of the Air Force PAVE PENNY pod, does not have the ability to laser designate targets. It is a passive tracking device that detects laser light reflected from targets illuminated by ground troops, other aircraft or the Hornet's own AAS-38 targeting FLIR on the other side of the fuselage. The ASQ-173 relays target location information to the cockpit displays and mission computers.

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