ORLANDO, FL: Lockheed Martin’s Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) demonstrated its advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability during the recent joint forces Empire Challenge exercise. The enhancements respond to U.S. defense officials’ call for improved ISR for convoy route reconnaissance and battlefield situational awareness.
During the joint and coalition military exercise conducted at Nellis Air Force Base, NV, and China Lake Naval Air Station, CA, pilots demonstrated a Sniper pod with enhanced algorithms, a digital data recorder and a high-definition sensor and datalink. U.S. Air Force crews flew the pod on an F-16 in support of the exercise’s key objective – to evaluate proposed ISR solutions for Warfighter requirements.
“Field reports from ongoing contingency operations routinely attest to the use of the Sniper ATP to conduct non-traditional ISR missions,” said Ken Fuhr, Fixed-Wing Program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “To better serve the Warfighter, we’re expanding the pod’s role as an ISR tool. Empire Challenge provided an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the pod’s capability in support of improvised explosive device search, convoy support and armed overwatch.”
During the exercise, Sniper pod’s ISR capabilities demonstrated autonomous reconnaissance and data collection, providing a complete battlefield picture for intelligence operations. Directed by pre-defined or pilot-designated flight points, this capability can be used to monitor convoy routes or wide areas of interest, in addition to capturing images of infrastructure such as oil pipelines, power lines and roadways.
Packaged in a single lightweight pod, Sniper ATP’s enhanced image clarity provides critical long-range, positive identification of both moving and stationary air and ground targets, as well as real-time targeting for advanced laser-guided weapons. It is also equipped with a video downlink that relays high-resolution streaming video to forward-deployed forces for non-traditional ISR and rapid target coordination.
Competitively selected as the U. S. Air Force’s advanced targeting pod in 2001, the Sniper ATP is used by the U.S. Air Force in current combat operations and is actively deployed on five different U.S. and coalition platforms.
With a proven 98 percent field availability rate and demonstrated supportability worldwide, Sniper ATP is designed to be “plug-and-play” for optimal flexibility. The Sniper pod is operational on U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard and multinational F-16, F-15, B-1, CF-18, Harrier, A-10 and Tornado aircraft. It is currently being integrated and is flying on the B-52. Sniper pods provide discriminating capability to the U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard and 11 international air forces, including coalition partners.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.