posted on Apr, 13 2005 @ 06:14 AM
April 12, 2005
U.S. Air Force B-1 bomber is being modified to carry the Sniper XR targeting pod, which is in production at Lockheed Martin-Orlando for the
service’s F-16, F-15E and A-10 ground-attack fighter aircraft. The external Sniper XR pod will be carried on a pylon under the B-1’s belly; the
modification effort aims to provide the bomber’s aircrew with a positive target identification capability it lacks.
“It really became apparent in Afghanistan and Iraq that we needed this capability,” said Lt. Col. George Raihala, a former B-1 weapon systems
officer who is now deputy chief of the projects division in the B-1 Systems Group at the Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,
Ohio. “In Iraq, we used the B-1’s ground-moving-target-indicator radar to look for Scuds out in the western desert. The problem was that our radar
resolution is insufficient to positively identify a target. I had to call in a fighter with a pod to look at the target and tell me what it was.
“There were times we’d find movers near potential hide sites and no fighters were available so we’d lose a target,” he said.
The aircraft and the pod will be integrated so that the pod will be cued to the B-1 radar’s line of sight. When something shows up on the radar, the
aircrew will feed the target coordinates to the pod, whose powerful electro-optical and infrared cameras will provide a clear visual image of the
target. This will reduce the risk of collateral damage while increasing the B-1’s ability to hit time-sensitive targets with satellite-guided
weapons such as the 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition.
If flight testing on the bomber scheduled for the summer of 2006 is successful, the Air Force plans to integrate the pod on all of the 67 operational
B-1s in its inventory beginning in fiscal 2009.
: Always post a direct link to your source/sources:
Acquisition group explores use of targeting pod on B-1
[edit on 13-4-2005 by Seekerof]