Lockheed Martin has secured a direct commercial sale contract for the integration of its Sniper advanced targeting pod (ATP) onto the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF) F-2 aircraft.

Under this contract, Lockheed will collaborate with the prime aircraft manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in order to integrate the system on the F-2.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Sniper international programme manager Marc Nazon said: "Sniper ATP’s proven performance and low life cycle cost will provide necessary support to the JASDF mission.

"Integrating Sniper ATP on the F-2 also enables increased collaboration in US Air Force and JASDF joint combat operations."

The initial contract for Sniper ATP was awarded last year and it covered the delivery of a Sniper pod, spares and support equipment for integration.

The Sniper ATP has been designed to provide pilots with high-resolution imagery for precision targeting and non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

"Integrating Sniper ATP on the F-2 also enables increased collaboration in U.S. Air Force and JASDF joint combat operations."

With this system, aircraft crew will be able to detect, identify, automatically track and laser designate small tactical targets at long ranges, supporting employment of all laser- and GPS-guided weapons against multiple fixed and moving targets.

The solution’s interoperability will allow the air forces to use the pod across multiple platforms, including the F-15, F-16, F-18, A-10, B-1 and B-52 aircraft.

In July, Lockheed secured a follow-on foreign military sale contract to manufacture and upgrade Sniper pods for the Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 fleet.

Under the contract, the company will produce 15 Sniper ATPs and upgrade the Pakistan Air Force’s existing 22 pods.

Image: The F-2 multirole fighter is the eighth aircraft platform to be equipped with Sniper ATP. Photo: courtesy of Quinton T. Burris, U.S. Air Force.