F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Sniper XR flight tests successful

September 16, 2003 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Lockheed Martin recently conducted a number of successful flight tests of its Sniper XR Advanced Targeting Pod on F-15E and F-16 fighters. During the battery of tests, the targeting pod's availability was rated at 100 percent and each mission successfully completed its objectives. Testing was conducted at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB), Edwards AFB, Eglin AFB and the Air Force Reserve Test Center in Tucson, AZ.

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Testing began in June with a series of familiarization and Operational Utility Evaluation (OUE) flights on the F-15E Strike Eagle at Nellis AFB. Based on the successful flights on the F-15E, the testing was expanded to the block 30 and 50 variants of the F-16. The four test sites subjected four test pods to 37 sorties in order to develop a comprehensive performance assessment.

"Sniper XR is on track to enter qualification testing and evaluation (QT&E) by the end of September," said Lockheed Martin's Sniper Program Director Ken Fuhr. "This rigorous testing program provides a high degree of confidence that Sniper XR will provide the advanced capabilities that aircrews need in today's threat environment."

Sniper's superior performance includes exceptional stability, long-range identification of tactical targets, outstanding image processing, and supersonic flight. A precision targeting system in a single, lightweight, affordable pod, Sniper XR is designed for current and future fighter aircraft.

Incorporating a high-resolution, mid-wave 3rd generation FLIR, a dual-mode laser and a CCD-TV along with a laser spot tracker and a laser marker, Sniper vastly improves target detection/identification. The advanced image processing algorithms, combined with rock-steady stabilization techniques, deliver three times the performance of the best systems in service today.