Lockheed Martin received a direct commercial sale contract from the United Arab Emirates Air Force (al-ʾImārāt al-ʿArabīyyah al-Muttaḥidah al-Quwwāt al-Jawiyah) for expedited delivery of Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP), spares, and upgrades. Lockheed Martin says that this contract marks the first integration of Sniper ATP on the Mirage 2000 aircraft. Deliveries of Sniper ATPs and spares will support the United Arab Emirates Air Force requirement to provide precision targeting capability for their existing Dassault Mirage 2000 fleet. The United Arab Emirates Air Force currently employs Sniper ATP on its F-16 Block 60 aircraft.
The Lockheed Martin Sniper is a targeting pod for military aircraft that provides positive target identification, autonomous tracking, GPS coordinate generation, and precise weapons guidance from extended standoff ranges. The system has been designated AN/AAQ-33 in U.S. military service as the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP). Sniper ATP is interoperable across multiple platforms, including F-2, F-15, F-16, F-18, A-10, B-1, B-52, Harrier, and Typhoon aircraft. Chosen by over 27 international customers and the U.S. Air Force, Sniper ATP is a global leader in precision targeting with more than 1,000 pods have been delivered worldwide.
The pod incorporates a high definition mid-wave FLIR, dual-mode laser, visible-light HDTV, laser spot tracker, laser marker, video data link, and a digital data recorder. Advanced sensors and image processing incorporating image stabilization enable targets to be identified at ranges which minimize exposure to defensive enemy systems. The dual-mode laser offers an eye-safe mode for urban combat and training operations along with a laser-guided bomb designation laser. The pod’s FLIR allows observation and tracking through smoke and clouds, and in low light / no light conditions. The CCD camera supports the same operations in visible light for most daylight conditions.
In May 1983, the UAE placed an order for 36 Mirage 2000 aircraft. The order consisted of 22 single-seat Mirage 2000EAD, eight unique single-seat reconnaissance variants designated Mirage 2000RAD and six Mirage 2000DAD trainers, which collectively are known as SAD-8 (Standard Abu Dhabi). The order specified an Italian-made defensive avionics suite that delayed delivery of the first of these aircraft until 1989. In November 1998, the UAE signed a $3.2 billion contract that consisted of an order for 30 Mirage 2000-9s as well as the deal to upgrade 33 of the surviving SAD-8 aircraft up the new standard.