The two American organizations announced this week they wrapped up the first flight tests of the Kuwaiti F-18 Super Hornet equipped with something called Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP). As its name says, that would be a pod attached under the plane to help it with electro-optical precision targeting and increased surveillance capabilities.
The Sniper, made by Lockheed Martin, is a very versatile piece of equipment, being compatible with a great deal of F-type aircraft, as well as Harriers and Typhoons. It comprises high-definition sensors, a laser spot tracker, a laser emitter to help laser-guided weapons home in on moving targets, and a digital data recorder, among others.
Like most other pieces of tech deployed by the military, the Sniper is also suitable for upgrades thanks to an open architecture design. The most recent new features added to the hardware are two-color laser spot tracking and new software.
The Sniper is deployed in 15 aircraft platforms by 27 nations, with some 1,500 of them presently in service. The Sniper is used for passive detection, tracking, and ranging for air-to-air and air-to-surface targets. There is no data on how many times the system was used in combat.
For the Kuwait Air Force, the integration of the Sniper on the Super Hornet is on track, after two tests were completed in the past few months at locations in the United States, with both non-operational and operational pods. Lockheed Martin expects it to be ready for integration in late 2023.