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Sniper ATP-SE makes operational debut with Dyess bombers

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Charles V. Rivezzo
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
B-1 Bombers from the 7th Bomb Wing received a significant upgrade to their targeting capability April 15, becoming the first operational platform to employ Lockheed Martin's Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod-Sensor Enhancement modification.

Building on the technology of legacy ATP pods, Sniper pods in the new ATP-SE configuration provide an even greater capability via new enhanced sensors, a two-way data link, advanced processors and automated non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance modes.

"Sniper-SE incorporates the greatest set of upgrades to the Advanced Targeting Pod since its inception," said Capt. Artur Kosycarz, 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron Sniper-SE rated project officer. "Standardized across the combat air force, Sniper-SE equipped jets will be able to execute a myriad of mission sets with capability in the realm of maritime operations, ISR and video data-link."

A new facet to the modification is the pod's Net-T, or network tactical capability, which enables a point-to-multipoint networking architecture that, when employed with other platforms, provides beyond line-of-sight range capability allowing operators, analysts and decision makers access to real-time situational awareness data.

This targeting pod enhancement can provide the commander real-time information, videos, images, maps or coordinates from the forward deployed elements without relying on satellite, radio or other forms of traditional communication.

"The legacy sniper pods only have one way data-link capability," said Master Sgt. Jesse Williams, 7th Maintenance Group wing avionics manager. "However, the new Sniper-SE pod brings in the two-way option, allowing ground receivers to relay high-resolution streaming video to forward-deployed forces for rapid target coordination.

"Very similar to other aircraft's Link-16 network, the added capability can be relayed around to other aircraft or ground units across all services," Williams added. "Simply stated, the pod acts almost like a wireless router or Wi-Fi hot-spot that can be bounced around to other aircraft or ground units with the data-link capability."

Furthermore, a unique enhancement to the new targeting pod not previously available is its ability to record the video and images captured, significantly enhancing the employing platforms ISR capability.

"With previous, pods once the data was displayed it's pretty much gone," Williams said. "But with the Sniper-SE pods, aircrews can record every single mission and use that for training, further analysis or whatever the case may be."

Sniper ATP is the only pod with advanced integration across all Air Force air-to-surface fighter and bomber aircraft. Like the legacy targeting pod, Sniper ATP-SE will also be capable of employment on the B-52 Stratofortress, F-15E Strike Eagle, A-10 Thunderbolt II and the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

However, with the B-1s ability to carry the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory, as well as the aircraft's speed and superior handling characteristics which allows it to seamlessly integrate in mixed force packages, the B-1 presents itself as a premier platform to employ the new targeting pod.

Dyess aircrews are currently training and familiarizing themselves with the new pod in preparation for future deployments and could become the first unit to employ the new targeting pod in the area of responsibility.