The US Air Force (USAF) will arm its pilots with new targeting pods to increase the capabilities of the A-10C Thunderbolt II jet aircraft currently in operation over Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods will be installed on the fleet of A-10Cs assigned to the USAF’s 23d Fighter Group, replacing the Litening Advanced Targeting Pods.

USAF unit commander lieutenant colonel Derek Oaks said the new sniper pods are already in active use on other aircraft including the B-1B Lancer, F-15Es and F-16s.

The sniper pod has a longer range, a stronger laser and is about 100lb lighter; however, the software required to use it and the way it attaches to the plane does not require any special installation.

The pods feature non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to monitor enemy movements and will provide enhanced capability to fight potential threats.