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Taiwan Joins Ten Other Nations That Fly the LANTIRN Night VisionSystem

January 6, 1999 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Taiwan will become the 10th foreign customer to select Lockheed Martin's LANTIRN nightvision system for its fighter aircraft, under a U.S. Air Force Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program contract potentially worth $106.2 million.
Lockheed Martin Electronics & Missiles of Orlando, Florida will deliver 20 Sharpshooter targeting pods and 20 Pathfinder navigation pods for integration on Taiwan's fleet of F-16 aircraft by October 2001.

Pathfinder and Sharpshooter are derivatives of the LANTIRN system, which Lockheed Martin initially developed for U.S. Air Force F-15E and F-16C/D fighters. Pathfinder permits pilots to fly in total darkness and reduced visibility. Sharpshooter enables the pilot to pinpoint targets from standoff ranges day or night and in bad weather.

In addition to Taiwan, nine other foreign customers, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Nalude the integration of the Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) to the block 40 aircraft, involving both a software and hardware change to the aircraft. This system is currently underdevelopment by Sanders, a Lockheed Martin company. The CMWS is designed to significantly improve survivability by helping counter all types of missiles, particularly those with infrared or ultraviolet homing seekers that do not emit tell-tale radar signals.

Two F-16s will be used for development testing and operational test and evaluation of the software. Development testing is scheduled to begin in May1999 at Edwards AFB, Calif. Two other F-16s will receive both software and hardware modifications and will serve as test aircraft in support of development of the CMWS, and this flight testing is scheduled to begin in July 1999 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.