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F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Sniper achieves initial operational capability with NY ANG

April 22, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Lockheed Martin and the Air National Guard (ANG) F-16 fighter-jet equipped 174th Fighter Wing in Syracuse, NY, celebrated the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of Lockheed Martin's Sniper® Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) last week.

Sniper® ATP provides vastly improved long-range target detection and identification and continuous stabilized surveillance in support of ground forces.

In attendance at the ceremony were Rep. Jim Walsh (R-NY) and representatives from the Air National Guard and Lockheed Martin. Since receiving Sniper ATPs, the ANG has been proving-out their new capabilities with a series of significant firsts.

"Being the first fighter unit to achieve IOC status is a significant accomplishment, and Syracuse should be justifiably proud," said Ken Fuhr, program director – Sniper ATP at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "The Syracuse ANG F-16 unit has been flying its Sniper ATPs in Air Force training exercises and live-fire events to prove out Sniper ATP's capabilities and hone pilot and maintainer skills to a razor's edge."

Gen. Ronald Keys, commander of Air Combat Command, declared IOC when Syracuse's F-16 squadron met formal requirements set for training, spares and pods.

Sniper ATP generates precision coordinates outside threat ranges for global positioning system-aided weapons and guides precision laser-guided precision-guided munitions. Sniper ATP is the targeting system of choice for the U.S. Air Force and the Air National Guard. Combat proven on the F-15E and F-16, Sniper ATP's advanced targeting technology and features are changing the way our armed forces operate in theater by providing new capabilities in meeting the challenges of non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and in fulfilling precision strike mission requirements.

Sniper ATP provides vastly improved long-range target detection and identification and continuous stabilized surveillance in support of ground forces. For the first time, aircrews can detect and identify many classes of improvised explosive devices, weapon caches and individuals carrying armaments, all at distances beyond audible detection. The superior imagery and JDAM-quality coordinates provided by Sniper ATP keep aircrews out of threat air defense ranges adding survivability to lethality.

Sniper combines a high-resolution, mid-wave third-generation forward-looking infrared and an eye-safe laser for urban combat operations with a charge-coupled device television, a laser spot tracker and a laser marker in a single, lightweight pod. The advanced image processing algorithms and rock-steady stabilization techniques provide cutting-edge performance.

  • High-resolution, 3rdgeneration, midwave targeting FLIR with state-of-the-art image processing
  • Supersonic/low-observable design
  • Substantial weight/drag reduction
  • Modular design for true two-level maintenance
  • Automatic boresight and aircraftalignment
  • Tactical and eye-safe, cockpit-selectable diode-pumped laser with no altitude restrictions
  • Laser spot tracker
  • Laser marker
  • Advanced target/scene imager with inertial tracker
  • Passive air-to-air target detection and tracking
  • Highly accurate passive ranging
  • Precision geo-coordinate generation for J-series weapons

Contract Specifications
  • Field of View: WFOV: 4 deg; NFOV: 1.0 deg
  • Field of Regard: Pitch: +35 deg; -155 deg
  • Roll: Continuous
  • Diameter: 11.9 in (30 cm)
  • Length: 94 in (239 cm)
  • Pod Only Weight: 397 lb (181 kg)
  • MTBF: 600 hrs

Additional images:

U.S. Air Force F-16CJ Block 50 equipped with a Sniper advanced targeting pod. [Photo by LMTAS]