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* State of the art Electro-Optical and Infra-Red pod
* Real-time imaging to ground stations via data-link
Built by the American BF Goodrich Company and fitted to the Tornado GR4 aircraft, RAPTOR (Reconnaissance Airborne Pod TORnado) is an externally mounted Electro-Optical and Infra-Red pod with the ability to display images in the cockpit and to transmit these images via a Data-Link to a ground station. Imagery is also recorded in the aircraft for post-flight analysis.
The RAPTOR system is capable of imaging pre-planned targets, or ‘target of opportunity’ points of interest, and can image over 200 separate points in one sortie. The stand-off range of the sensor allows the points of interest to be imaged whilst the aircraft remains outside the area of highest threat. The RAPTOR pod is similar in size to a Tornado underwing fuel tank.
The system has been in use since autumn 2002 and is made its operational debut (despite not being fully cleared for service) during Operation Iraqi Freedom in early 2003 where it performed extremely well. A total of 8 RAPTOR pods will be used by the RAF.
Originally posted by waynos
If you search the images on the RAF site there are some really cool pics of stuff like the Red Arrows flying with an F-117 and RAF Merlins over New York, all excellent quality and a little different from the norm. Just click on 'images'