This is about the alleged "UFO" video. However, I'm not interested in speculation about what exactly the aircraft being tracked in the video is.

What is "autotrack" in an F/A-18 Super Hornet? Does it involve tracking by the radar, infrared, or digital interpretation of the video stream by a computer?

I've provided a link to the video. This shows the aircraft (the alleged "UFO") being "tracked" by what the pilot claims to be "autotrack":

As a bonus question, what is the other pilot asking about? He asks "Did you box a moving target?", what does it mean to "box" a moving target? Does it refer to radar tracking?


1 Answer 1


Autotrack means the FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed) sensor attempts to track whatever object falls inside the tracking area. It means whatever the pilot was trying to keep up with was producing emissions in the infrared (heat) and the system was automatically tracking it.

Boxing a moving target is having the tracking system detect and track a target you have selected. In this case, the other pilot was asking if he had selected the target manually (boxing) or if the system detected and autotracked the target on its own.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Although from this explanation it seems like boxing the target is exactly what the pilot in the video did. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ Well, what the pilot did was maneuver the aircraft to allow the targeting computer to use its sensors to present him with a "boxed" target display. A very long time ago i was part of the team at Hughes Aircraft Company that developed the F-14 Tomcat RIO display (back seater). That box was amazing. It could track 12 targets at a time, from acquisition to destruction, and inside all it had was two Intel 8088 CPU's, the same as the very first IBM-PC. And no math coprocessor! $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ I see, thanks. The F-14 RIO has two 8088's that are programmable, when developing software for it? I wasn't aware the 8088's were found in SMP configurations. Very interesting. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 13:44
  • $\begingroup$ 8088's are general purpose CPU's, you write the code, they just run it. Like I said, it was an amazing box. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 13:54
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    $\begingroup$ I would be surprised if the two 8088's were used in an SMP architecture. More likely would be one handles the sensor data and passes that data to the other chip to perform the tracking. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 17:10

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