US gives Pakistan 18 Sniper spy pods for F16s

By Arun Kumar


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Washington : The US government has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin for 18 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP), a part of the new advanced block 52 F-16 aircraft programme for Pakistan.

With deliveries beginning in 2008, Sniper ATP's exceptional stability and superior imagery will allow Pakistan Air Force to perform intelligence, targeting, surveillance and reconnaissance missions from extended standoff ranges.

Pakistan is the eighth international customer to join the US Air Force and Air National Guard flying with Sniper ATP. The contract includes spares and training services. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

"This sale culminates a two-year combined effort by Lockheed Martin's Missiles and Fire Control and Aeronautics businesses to upgrade the precision attack capability of one of our key allies," said Ken Fuhr, director of Fixed Wing Targeting Programmes at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Monday.

"Sniper continues to demonstrate exceptional performance in meeting the requirements and expectations of the Warfighter."

Sniper incorporates a high-resolution, mid-wave third-generation forward-looking infrared (FLIR), a dual-mode laser permitting eye-safe operation in urban environments, a CCD-TV along with a laser spot tracker and a laser marker.

Sniper is fully compatible with the latest J-series munitions and precision-guided weaponry. Its superior detection ranges are vital to pilots, helping keep them out of range of threat air defences.

The Pakistan Air Force joins the UK Ministry of Defence; the Canadian Forces, the Royal Norwegian Air Force; the Polish Air and Air Defense Force; the Royal Air Force of Oman; the Belgium Defence and other international customers with its selection of the Sniper ATP.

Sniper ATP is currently flying on the US Air Force and multinational F-15s, F-16s, F-18s, A-10s, B-1s and the Harrier GR9. Sniper ATPs have accumulated tens of thousands of flight hours in thousands of sorties in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

The Maryland Headquartered Lockheed Martin is engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustaining of advanced technology systems.