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Monday, June 8, 2009

Lockheed ‘Sniper’ Pods Flying On A-10Cs

Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force completed site activations of the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP), equipping A-10C Thunderbolt II units at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., and Spangdahlem AFB, Germany. A further A-10C site activation is planned this summer for Moody AFB, Ga. The Sniper pod contains high-resolution, mid-wave FLIR and TV sensors, which operate in conjunction with a dual-mode laser for precise geo-location of targets. The pod also possesses a video down link to send streaming video. The site activations involve pod installation, maintenance and aircrew training. In June 3 teleconference, Lt. Col. Michael Millen, commander of the 354th Fighter Squadron based at Davis-Monthan AFB, described the pod as a “critical piece” of the latest A-10 variant, providing stand-off range from ground threats and the resolution to see and track small convoys and people. “For us, it’s been a huge capability increase for the A-10,” said Millen, whose squadron is the first to field the ATP. The pod also is deployed on F-16, F-15E, B-1 and Harrier GR7 and GR9 aircraft. Millen said the 354th had 16 Sniper pods installed and flying on the A-10C. He said the squadron would be “deployed very soon, and I anticipate being gone the entire fall” in Afghanistan.

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