The Kuwait Air Force’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet made its first flight integrated with Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP).
Sniper ATP will be located on the Weapon Station 5, an area on the aircraft where pods or weapons attach and is expected to be fielded with the aircraft in late 2023. This integration gives existing and future Super Hornet fleets the ability to add Sniper ATP’s precision targeting and surveillance capabilities, which are critical to pilot survivability.
“Integrating Sniper ATP onto Weapon Station 5, commonly known as the ‘cheek station,’ brings state-of-the-art tracking algorithms, two-way-data-link, and many other capabilities to the Kuwait F/A-18E/F crews that will positively impact the overall success of their missions,” said Kenen Nelson, director of Fixed Wing Sensor Programs at Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control. “This also means that all F/A-18E/F customers will have the option of a reliable, easily maintainable and modern targeting pod.”
Sniper ATP on Weapon Station 5 of the F/A-18E/F during the first flight tests in March 2021 (Picture source: Boeing and U.S. Navy)
To verify the mechanics of the system, flight testing with a non-operational Sniper ATP was conducted at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland in March. Subsequently, flight-testing with an operational Sniper ATP was conducted at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California in March. Both first flight tests were successful, Lockheed Martin said in a statement Thursday.
Currently, Sniper ATP flies on both the Kuwait F/A-18C/D and Canadian CF-18 Hornets. As the Kuwait Air Force transitions to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, they will benefit by receiving the new capabilities that the latest Sniper ATP configuration provides to the Super Hornet fleet. There are currently more than 27 countries and 15 different types of aircraft operating with the platform-agnostic Sniper ATP.
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