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Lockheed Martin Receives US Air Force Contract To Upgrade Sniper

File photo: Sniper pods are attached to a US aircraft, Iraq.
by Staff Writers
Orlando FL (SPX) May 30, 2006
Lockheed Martin has received a U.S. Air Force cost-plus contract worth approximately $9 million to upgrade Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP) with video down link capabilities.

Video down link enables simultaneous transmission of the Sniper ATP's cockpit video to Man Pack Rover III ground-based receivers. This eye-in-the-sky capability greatly increases Sniper ATP's close air support utility by supplying ground troops with higher situational awareness for operations in hostile urban environments.

"This video down link capability will expand Sniper's missions in joint operations," said Ken Fuhr, Sniper ATP program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

"Sniper is saving lives, and this capability is a leap forward in battlefield situational awareness that enables faster reaction to time-sensitive-targeting with bombs on target - faster than traditional targeting methods."

Today, Sniper ATP-equipped F-16s and F-15s act as guardians for Special Forces and allied convoys by providing silent, unseen support and identifying suspicious activity. With the new video down link capability, the ground troops will be able to see what the Sniper ATP sees, making their jobs easier and shortening the time it takes to put ordnance on target.

"This upgrade represents a significant step forward in completing the U.S. Air Force's critical path to building a robust air and ground net-centric warfare system distinguished by whole system thinking and action," Fuhr added. Lockheed Martin's contract includes spares, source data and development of all factory test equipment.

Sniper's exceptional stability and superior imagery allow aircrews to positively identify armed insurgents from extended standoff ranges. Combining Sniper ATP and its new video down link capability broadens warfighters' range of options when fulfilling traditional tactical missions and when meeting the demands of non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (NT-ISR); and raid support for ground forces.

Sniper ATPs are currently flying on the U.S. Air Force F-15E, and F-16; and are in developmental flight test on the A-10 and being integrated on the B-1. Sniper ATPs have accumulated over 20,000 flight hours in more than 3,000 sorties in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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