The U.S. military's biannual Northern Edge exercise is in full swing in Alaska and a picture has emerged showing an F-15C Eagle taking part in the drills while carrying a Lockheed Martin Legion Pod. This system has an infrared search and track sensor, or IRST, which offers the pilot an important additional way to detect and track other aircraft at significant ranges. The Air Force doesn't expect this system to reach initial operational capability until next year, but it's no surprise it has appeared at this exercise, which has long served as a valuable opportunity to test new advanced aircraft and systems and the fighting doctrine associated with them.
Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), which manages the exercise, posted the picture of the F-15C, which carries the "WA" tail code of Nellis Air Force Base, on May 15, 2019. The caption does not say what specific unit the plane belongs to or mention the Legion Pod. The base is home to the 57th Wing, which, among other things, manages the prestigious U.S. Air Force Weapons School. Nellis is also responsible for managing the adjacent and sprawling Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) and the base hosts a wide variety of test and evaluation units. READ MORE...
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