The new targeting pod selected by the US Air Force is designated “Sniper”. It was developed by Lockheed martin, together with an export version is called “Pantera.” The design is based on a mid-1990s candidate for the US Navy advanced targeting pod system. The wedge-nosed, long-range targeting pod design features a third-generation mid-wave Flir system, diode-pumped laser operating up to 40,000 feet altitude, enhanced stabilization, a laser spot-tracker, laser marker, CCD television camera and a combat-identification capability. Its modular design has half the parts count of the company’s Lantirn targeting pod, is self-boresighting, requires two-level maintenance (flight line and depot) and can be disassembled quickly with common hand tools.
Slightly shorter than its Lantirn predecessor, the 440lb Sniper pod has a 30cm diameter. The pod’s wedge-shaped nose is made of highly durable sapphire which is transparent to visible and infrared wavelengths, and presents extreme durability to impact and damage. The unique design gives Sniper a semi-low-observable characteristic, but also makes it compatible with fighters carrying the system on an engine inlet. At supersonic speeds, an oblique shock surface forming on the pod reduces disturbances in air entering the inlet.
Some of these modules are repackaged in a targeting system designed for theJoint Strike Fighter. To preserve stealth characteristics, the system is carried internally, with a window beneath the fighter’s nose.
Photo on this page: Ground crew at Edwards Air Force base is preparing aSniper XR targeting pod for test flight. Testing of the pod is scheduled to continue through 2002.(US Air Force photo by Tom Reynolds).
|Sniper XR Specifications|
|Total weight:||440 lb|
|Wide Field of view:||4×4|
|Narrow field of view:||1×1|
|Field of regard:||+35 / -155|
|Laser:||Diode pumped laser designator:|