B-1B Lancer

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract to continue sustainment support for the US Air Force’s (USAF) Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) fleet for a period of five years, starting from September 2012.

Under the terms of the $152m contract, the company will provide legacy sniper pod sustainment support to Warner Robins Air Force Base, located in Georgia, US.

Lockheed will also provide engineering support, initial line replaceable unit spares, support equipment and pod containers over the next five-years.

Ashlie Payne, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control business sniper programme manager, said the contract will play a significant role in continuing Sniper pod sustainment for the USAF without generating a gap in providing support to soldiers.

”Through collaboration with Warner Robins, legacy Sniper ATP pods will continue to excel in providing aircrews with unmatched targeting capability,” Payne added.

Lockheed was previously delivering Sniper ATP sustainment support to the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, US.

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Designated AN/AAQ-33, the Sniper ATP helps in positive target identification, autonomous tracking, coordinate generation, precise weapons guidance and non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (NTISR) from extended standoff ranges and during day/night conditions.

The pod is equipped with a laser spot tracker to acquire other laser spots from air and ground assets, an infrared marker and a video down link to provide ground forces with enhanced situational awareness.

Currently, sniper pods are deployed on the USAF and multinational F-16, F-15, B-1, F-18, Harrier GR7/9, A-10C, B-52 and CF-18 aircraft, and have also been used during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively.

US Air National Guard (ANG) also uses Sniper ATPs on their fixed-wing aircraft for conducting long-range detection, identification and surveillance support missions.

Image: The Lockheed Sniper ATP mounted on underbelly of a USAF’s B-1B Lancer bomber aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Staff Sgt. Darnell Cannady.