Lockheed Martin UK Demonstrates Sniper® Advanced Targeting Pod On Board Tornado GR4

LONDON, February 19, 2008

A team of Lockheed Martin UK, BAE Systems and SELEX GALILEO (formerly Selex S&AS) has successfully demonstrated and flown a Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) on board a Tornado GR4 combat aircraft.

The flight, funded jointly by Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and SELEX GALILEO, was carried out at BAE Systems’ Warton site in Lancashire. The tests show that Sniper ATP can be rapidly integrated with the existing Tornado hardware and software, and can provide the aircrew with an advanced capability allowing them to detect, identify and track targets accurately at long-range.

Lockheed Martin programme manager Hugh Woods said: “The tests proved that Sniper ATP can, with a minimum of effort and cost, be integrated in a development environment with the Tornado GR4. This opens up new possibilities for commanders who are looking for a common and reliable targeting pod which can be moved between platforms and swiftly repaired and upgraded. Sniper ATP is a true high performance low-risk solution.”

BAE Systems Gordon Slater commented on the “excellent quality of the imagery, tracking performance and video down link imagery”. Steve Millward, Managing Director of Tornado at BAE Systems, added “my own congratulations to everyone who contributed to the outstanding achievement of clearing Sniper ATP and flying it on Tornado in only seven weeks from Launch Meeting to First Flight.”

Mike Gilbert, EO programmes director for SELEX GALILEO, said “We are delighted that our systems performed so well in this test. We are extremely proud of our UK capability in advanced airborne electro-optic targeting, and I would offer my congratulations to the whole Sniper team.”

Sniper ATP is already deployed in combat operations on board the UK Harrier GR9 and GR7 aircraft. The pod’s advanced capabilities and potential interoperability between multiple platforms will give commanders flexibility, and allow air crews to provide cover for a broad array of coalition missions. Additionally, Sniper ATP’s advanced image processing algorithms combined with exceptional stabilisation performance allow aircrew to detect and identify weapon caches and individual enemy combatants while remaining outside jet noise ranges. 

The capabilities that Sniper pods provide to aircrews include a high-resolution, mid-wave advanced Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR), a dual-mode laser and a CCD-TV along with a laser spot tracker, a laser marker, video downlink, and digital data recorder. Sniper ATP’s modular construction also ensures upgrades and repairs are low risk and cost effective.

Sniper ATP is currently supporting the Royal Norwegian Air Force; the Polish Air and Air Defence Force; the Royal Air Force of Oman and Belgium Defence as well as the UK MoD. The pod is flying on the U.S. Air Force and multinational F-15Es, F-16s, A-10s and B-1s.  Sniper pods have accumulated tens of thousands of flight hours in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Lockheed Martin UK, a unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation, is a leader in systems integration working on major programmes spanning the aerospace, defence and civil sectors. Lockheed Martin works with more than 100 business partners and employs over 1700 people at 12 sites across the UK.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.  The Corporation reported 2007 sales of $41.9 billion.

BAE Systems is the premier global defence and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With 96,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £15 billion (US $27 billion) in 2006*.                                                                    

*On a pro forma basis, assuming BAE Systems had owned Armor Holdings Inc for the whole of 2006"

SELEX GALILEO is the brand adopted by Galileo Avionica SpA and SELEX Sensors and Airborne Systems Ltd, Finmeccanica companies, to present a common identity to the market. With the name SELEX GALILEO, the two companies represent a leading defence electronics supplier, providing world-class capabilities in surveillance, protection, tracking, targeting, navigation & control, and imaging systems.  Further details can be obtained at: http://www.selexgalileo.com

Media Contacts:
John Fyall, Lockheed Martin UK, 02392 443 342, e-mail, john.fyall@lmco.com

Kathryn Whiteside, BAE Systems 01772 853508, e-mail kathryn.whiteside@baesystems.com

Jane McGirk, SELEX GALILEO, 0131 343 8993, e-mail, jane.mcgirk@selex-sas.com