In a move to enhance Malaysia’s defence capabilities, Lockheed Martin Corporation and Boeing Company secured an $80m (RM379.2m) contract with the Malaysian government to procure ten AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods. 

The deal is set to modernise Malaysia’s F/A-18D platform.

According to GlobalData’s intelligence on the Malaysian defence market, the Malaysian Air Force has eight F/AD-18D multirole aircraft. Malaysia acquired the aircraft from Boeing in 1997 and continues to operate the fleet, which was previously modernised in 2017.

The US State Department’s approval of the Foreign Military Sale is a reminder of the United States’ commitment to supporting partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Sniper ATP system, equipped with high-definition sensors and a laser spot tracker, enhances precision targeting and reconnaissance capabilities for air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. 

The move comes amidst evolving security challenges in the region, with Malaysia seeking to modernise its current F/A-18D platform with targeting technology. The advanced targeting pods will enhance Malaysia’s ability to counter current and future threats and address concerns about equipment obsolescence.

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The proposed sale, includes technical data, training, and logistics support services. 

Lockheed Martin Corporation, headquartered in Orlando, FL, and The Boeing Company, based in St. Louis, MO, will serve as the principal contractors for the project. 

While the initial estimate values the deal at $80m, the actual dollar value may vary based on final requirements and signed sales agreements. Nonetheless, the agreement marks a step forward in Malaysia’s efforts to modernise its defence capabilities.

In May 2023, the US State Department approved the sale of 34 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP) to Poland for its FA-50 aircraft purchased from South Korea, estimated at $124.7m.