On Monday, the US Department of Defense announced that Lockheed Martin had been granted a US$485 million contract for advanced targeting pods. Made out from Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, it covers Sniper, Infrared Search and Track (IRST); and Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) navigation pod (fixed-wing) hardware production.
This contract provides the necessary resources required for the management, fabrication, upgrade/retrofit, integration support and testing and shipping of its non-developmental item (NDI) Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP) System.
Lockheed Martin's Sniper is a targeting pod for military aircraft that provides positive target identification, autonomous tracking, GPS co-ordinate generation, and precise weapons guidance.
According to the company's website, technical benefits of the Sniper include:
- Industry leading passive detection, tracking, and ranging for air-to-air and air-to-surface targets;
- High-definition sensors;
- Laser spot tracker; and
- Ability to deliver laser energy to accurately support laser-guided weapons against moving targets.
The ATP system has been designated AN/AAQ-33 within the US military. Further variants are the Sniper Extended Range (XR), as well as the PANTERA export derivative of the Sniper XR.
It also covers the NDI LANTIRN Fixed Image Navigation Set upgrades and the NDI IRST system, as those relate to the requirements document associated with each specific delivery order placed under this contract.
The contract is for Department of Defense and can provide support to other nations through the foreign military sales (FMS), including Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey.
To date, Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 350 IRST systems worldwide and consistently advances its capabilities across a variety of platforms.