The South Carolina Air National Guard recently returned from a combat deployment utilizing Lockheed Martin Sniper pods on the F-16 Fighting Falcon.  This marks the first time Sniper pods have been used in combat by an Air National Guard unit.  While in theater, the 169th Fighter Wing employed the Sniper pod’s non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (NTISR) capabilities, relaying high resolution streaming video for rapid coordination with ground troops.

“The Sniper pod did exactly what we needed it to do,” said Brigadier General Scott Williams, Commander, 169th Fighter Wing, South Carolina Air National Guard.  “For a pod that was designed to destroy enemy air defenses and surface-to-air missiles, it has great capability for non-traditional ISR, which we’ve proved over the last four months in Iraq.”

The 169th Fighter Wing reported that, during its deployment, the Sniper pod’s track capability saved lives by enabling point-of-origin searches that rapidly determined the source of mortar attacks and successfully tracked enemy combatants in cluttered environments.  F-16s with Sniper pods also served as a line of defense by monitoring forward refueling points, where troops and aircraft can be vulnerable while preparing for follow-on missions.

“The Air National Guard is an important Sniper operational user, with a significant number of video data link-equipped pods,” said Mark Fischer, senior business development manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.  “The 169th Fighter Wing was the first F-16 Block 50/52 unit operational with Sniper for the Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses mission, and they are very experienced with its capabilities.”

The 169th Fighter Wing joins other units in making the Sniper pod the most widely deployed targeting pod in combat operations.  In theater across U.S. Air Force F-16, F-15E, A-10C and B-1 aircraft, the Sniper pod is also being integrated on the B-52.  The Sniper pod maintains a 98% fleet availability rate, and Lockheed Martin continues to field key technology upgrades to keep Sniper on the leading edge of technology and responsive to Warfighter needs.

Source: Lockheed Martin

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