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Sniper Success for UK Harrier Force

18 Jun 2007 | Ref. 168/2007

Warton, United Kingdom. – Harrier aircraft in Afghanistan are providing even more effective close air support to coalition ground forces after BAE Systems and industry partners delivered the new ‘Sniper Pod’ targeting system six weeks ahead of schedule.

Wing Commander David Wigglesworth, SO1 Harrier HQ 1 Gp said: “Sniper was employed in support of Canadian Troops ‘In Contact’, 20 minutes after launching and received rave reviews from the ground forces. This underlines the significance of the truly outstanding efforts expended by all stakeholders in delivering this capability in such a tight timescale.”

Operational demands being placed upon the Harrier force in Afghanistan showed a need for an enhanced targeting capability and in March 2007 contracts to integrate the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod on the Harrier GR9 were awarded to BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin by the UK Ministry of Defence.

UK frontline squadron training started at the end of April with the first flight in the Afghanistan theatre of operations in mid-May. Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for Sniper on the Harrier GR9 was declared shortly after, just 10 weeks after BAE Systems was asked to quote for the integration work.

This speedy response – several times quicker than with traditional contracting and project management methods – was the result of discussions between BAE Systems, Selex and Lockheed Martin in early September 2006, which led to an industry funded Rapid Technology Insertion programme (RTI) to integrate and demonstrate Sniper on Harrier. In a compressed programme of hardware and software development, aircraft integration, rig testing and certification, the team conducted the first test flight just two months after the first RTI integration meeting.

BAE Systems’ Harrier programme director Nigel Davey added: “The Harrier Sniper RTI programme is a prime example of the UK Defence Industrial Strategy in action. It demonstrates the practical application of rapid prototyping and concurrent engineering in anticipation of formal customer requirements. It is also clear evidence of the company's readiness to invest in future capability and commitment to support the customer. The RTI programme provided a solid foundation for Sniper integration and has made it possible to deliver operational capability in a much shorter timescale than a conventional programme would permit.”

About BAE Systems:
BAE Systems is a global defence and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With 88,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £13.7 billion pounds sterling (US25.4 billion dollars) in 2006.

For further information, please contact:

John Neilson, BAE Systems
Tel: + 44 (0) 1252 384795 Mob: + 44 (0)7802 337704
john.neilson@baesystems.com

Debbie Szeto, BAE Systems
Tel: +44 (0) 1772 855558 Mob: +44 (0) 7793 422003
Debbie.szeto @baesystems.com



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