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AN/AAQ-33 Sniper XR /
ATP - Advanced Targeting Pod
Advanced Targeting Pod-Sensor Enhancement ATP-SE

The Sniper is an electro-optical and infrared imaging targeting system that comes encased in a lightweight pod compatible with the latest precision-guided weapons. The pod is affixed to the bottom of aircraft for detecting moving and fixed targets during air-to-air and air-to-ground engagements.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control's Sniper XR (eXtended Range) is the US Air Force's AN/AAQ-X Advanced Targeting Pod. Incorporating a 3rd generation targeting FLIR, Sniper XR's common aperture and exceptional stabilization result in superior image quality. Flown supersonically in USAF flight evaluations at Edwards AFB, Sniper XR allows pilots to identify tactical targets at greatly improved standoff ranges over current targeting systems. The modular, two-level maintenance design ensures the lowest life cycle costs.

The ATP pod should have a geopointing capability 10 times more accurate than the LANTIRN with triple the recognition range and twice the resolution. The ATP can acquire targets at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet, versus the 25,000 feet typical of the LANTIRN pod. Substantial advances in the reliability and maintainability should also occur. The ATP features both laser target designation, and the ability to generate ground target position data that can provide an input to Global Positioning System guided munitions, such as JDAM.

Sniper XR is designed for current and future fighter aircraft. Incorporating a high-resolution, mid-wave 3rd generation FLIR, a dual-mode laser and a CCD-TV along with a laser spot tracker and a laser marker, Sniper vastly improves target detection/identification. The advanced image processing algorithms, combined with rock-steady stabilization techniques, deliver three times the performance of the best systems in service today. Fully compatible with the latest standoff weaponry, Sniper provides automatic tracking and laser designation of tactical size targets via real-time imagery presented on cockpit displays. Likewise, the supersonic, low-observable design results in a substantial reduction in drag and weight.

Fully capable of being embedded or podded, Sniper technology is incorporated into Lockheed Martin's Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) design. The JSF Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) is highly common with Sniper.

The Advanced Targeting Pod Program is an acquisition program to put targeting pods on the US F-16CJ Block 50 aircraft and also serve as a possible replacement for the LANTIRN target pods on F-15Es and F-16 Block 40 aircraft if approved and funding becomes available. The HTS R7 / TGP combination provides potential to find, pinpoint, and destroy mobile SAMs, giving the F-16CJs a true multi-role capability to support EAF operations. The program objective was to provide a Precision Attack Targeting System for the USAF F-16CJ, ANG F-16, and F-15E aircraft, (with an A-10 MSIP & F-16 Block 40 M4 objective). For the F-15E portion, offerors were required to identify the tasks and activities necessary to qualify the pod on the F-15E. The A-10 was the other objective aircraft, though initially an initiative had not been undertaken to include ATP on the A-10. ATP would enhance and maintain the USAF strike mission lethality with an advanced targeting pod system enabling Destruction of Enemy Air Defense (DEAD) missions.

The overall purpose of the Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) Program is to Competitively Acquire a Best Estimated Quantity (BEQ) of 168 targeting pods, support equipment, interim contractor support, contractor logistics support, retrofit kits and data over a seven year period. The initial acquisition supported USAF F-16 Block 50/52 and ANG F-16 Block 25/30/32 aircraft. This acquisition was required for ACC and the ANG to accomplish the Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses (DEAD) mission (as directed by CSAF Direction.) Although categorized as an ACAT Level III program, a potential existed that the program could proceed to ACAT Level II -- for the ORD also stated an objective requirement to replace the LANTIRN targeting pod on the F-15E and F-16 Block 40 aircraft.

The Terminator ATP, proposed by Raytheon for use on the U.S. Air Force F-16, contains third generation mid-wave infrared targeting and navigation FLIRs, an electro-optical sensor, a laser rangefinder and target designator, and a laser spot tracker. The ATP prototype was flight tested on F-16 and F-15E aircraft with impressive results: verified superior long-range standoff FLIR target detection, recognition, identification, and tracking. The proven accuracy of its long-range laser-to-FLIR continuous auto-boresight alignment ensures first-pass kill and a higher probability of catastrophic kill.

The Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-28 LITENING was also competing for the SAF Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) program.

The award of a single contract was anticipated 15 July 2001. The contract would be structured to provide for seven years of ATP requirements. The contract type anticipated was Fixed Price, Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity, with a Best Estimated Quantity of 168 pods. Total potential quantity was approximately 505 pods. The planned requirements included the advanced targeting pod, required support equipment, pod refurbishment and retrofit kits, aircraft pylons, interim contractor support, contractor logistics support, test support and shipping containers. The ATP would be acquired as a Non Developmental Item (NDI). The requirements also included an availability warranty. The ATP would be acquired through the use of full and open competition.

Delivery Order 1 was intended to cover FY 01 activities. These activities included preparation time for the F-16 Block 30 SIL test; but, SIL testing wasn't scheduled to begin until October 2001 - FY 02. The government intended to place CLIN 0008 on contract with the following year's (FY02) delivery order. This next delivery order covered the period of intense QT&E and QOT&E activity; so, ICS was needed on this particular delivery order to support the testing activities.

The February 2001 Final Report of the Defense Science Board (DSB) Task Force on Options for Acquisition of the Advanced Targeting Pod and Advanced Targeting FLIR Pod (ATP/ATFLIR) recommended that the Department continues with both the Navy's ATFLIR program and the Air Force ATP program as then planned since it offered the most expeditious and cost-effective option to fielding a much needed capability. A redesign of the Navy version to accommodate Air Force needs for an in-pod cooling system may result in a pod that is too large for F-18 carrier operations.

On 20 August 2001 the US Air Force announced Lockheed Martin's Sniper XR (eXtended Range) system as the winner of its Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) competition. This 7-year contract with potential value in excess of $843 million marked the first deployment of 3rd generation targeting pods for the U.S. Air Force. The contract provided for up to 522 pods and associated equipment, spares, and support of the F-16 aircraft for both the Air Force and Air National Guard. Sniper XR pods will initially equip the U.S. Air Force's F-16CJ Block 50 aircraft and the Air National Guard's F-16 Block 30 aircraft. Follow-on acquisitions were destined for the F-16 Block 40 and F-15E fleets, as well as many interested international customers, bringing product potential to several billion dollars. The scheduled contract delivery date was January 2003.

F-16 Block FY 02FY 03FY04FY05FY06FY07FY08TOTAL
20 FW Shaw AFB,SC52C8 / 1 8 / 1 8 / 1 8 / 1 8 / 1 45
366WG MT Home AFB,ID52C8 / 1 9
35FW Misawa AB,JA50C8 / 1 8 / 1 18
52FW Spangdahlem AB,GE50C8 / 1 8 / 1 18
174FW Syracuse,NY25C1515
113WG Andrews,MD30C88
114FW Sioux Falls,SD30C88
169FW McEntire,SC52C88
149FW KellyAFB,TX30C88
183FW Springfield,IL30C88
122FW Ft Wayne,IN25C88
147FW Ellington,TX25C88
158FW Burlington,VT25C88
Grand Total =24242424242424169

Sniper pods provide improved long-range target detection/identification and continuous stabilized surveillance for all missions, including close air support of ground forces. The Sniper pod enables aircrews to detect and identify weapon caches and individuals carrying armaments, all outside jet noise ranges. Superior imagery, a video datalink and J-series-weapons-quality coordinates provided by the Sniper pod enable rapid target decisions and keep aircrews out of threat ranges.

High resolution imagery for non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (NTISR) enables the Sniper pod to play a major role in Air Force operations in theater, providing top cover for ground forces, as well as increasing the safety of civilian populations.

The Sniper pod is combat proven on U.S. Air Force and international F-15E, F-16 (all blocks), B-1, A-10C, Harrier GR7/9 and CF-18 aircraft. Lockheed Martin is also in the final stages of integrating the Sniper pod on the B-52. The pod's plug-and-play capability facilitates moving the pod across platforms without changing software.

Sniper pods include a high definition mid-wave forward looking infrared (FLIR), dual-mode laser, HDTV, laser spot tracker, laser marker, video data link, and a digital data recorder. Advanced image processing algorithms, combined with rock steady stabilization techniques, provide cutting-edge performance. The pod features automatic tracking and laser designation of tactical size targets via real-time imagery presented on cockpit displays. The Sniper pod is fully compatible with the latest J-series munitions for precision weapons delivery against multiple moving and fixed targets.

Advanced Targeting Pod - Sensor Enhancement (ATP-SE) design upgrades include enhanced sensors, advanced processors, and automated NTISR modes.

The Sniper pod's architecture and modular design permits true two-level maintenance, eliminating costly intermediate-level support. Automated built-in test permits flightline maintainers to isolate and replace an LRU in under 20 minutes. Spares are ordered through a user-friendly website offering in-transit visibility to parts shipment. The Sniper pod's modular design also offers an affordable road map for modernizing and enhancing precision targeting capabilities for U.S. Air Force and coalition partner aircraft.

Sniper was competitively selected to be the U.S. Air Force's Advanced Targeting Pod in August 2001. The contract provided for pods and associated equipment, spares, and support of the F-16 and F-15E aircraft for the total force, active-duty Air Force and Air National Guard. The Sniper pod first deployed overseas on F-15E aircraft in January 2005.

The Sniper pod was originally required for use on U.S. Air Force F-16, F-15E, and A-10 aircraft. It deployed on the F-16 in 2006, on the B-1 in 2008 in response to an urgent operational need, and on the A-10C in 2010. It has also been integrated on the B-52.

On Sept. 30, 2010, Lockheed Martin received the 60-percent majority contract to continue providing Sniper pods in support of the U.S. Air Force's Advanced Targeting Pod - Sensor Enhancement program.

The Sniper Performance Based Logistics (PBL) program provides critical sustainment support to the United States Air Force (USAF) and Air National Guard (ANG) for its fleet of 358 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods [as of 2014] operating on the A-10, F-15E, F-l6 Block 30-50, B-1, and B-52 aircraft at combat, operational, and training locations around the world. The Sniper PBL program is built on a governrnent-industry partnership managing and staffing the organic depot at Robins Air Force Base. The team includes personnel from Common Avionics within the Agile Combat Support Directorate, Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex (WR-ALC), and Lockheed Martin (LM).

Lockheed Martin won a sole-source contract worth nearly half a billion dollars to supply the US Air Force with precision weapons targeting pods, according to a statement issued 27 March 2015 by the US Department of Defense (DoD). “Lockheed Martin … has been awarded a $485,000,000 firm fixed price with minimal cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Contractor [Lockheed] will provide multiple Sniper advanced targeting pods,” the statement said.

The building of the Sniper pods will be performed at a Lockheed Martin facility in Orlando, Florida. Development is expected to be completed by March, 2018. Lockheed also won an $8.9 million contract to provide ten Sniper targeting pods to the Royal Jordanian Air Force by the end of 2016, according to the DoD.

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Page last modified: 08-04-2015 20:28:12 ZULU