Leonardo has signed a contract to supply the Slovenian Defence Ministry with its Type 163 Laser Target Designator (LTD) for the Slovenian Armed Forces. The contract makes Slovenia the 23rd nation to order the Type 163 LTD, more than 700 units of which have now been sold in total by Leonardo. In selecting the Type 163 LTD, Slovenia joins the members of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance (UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and NATO members including Italy, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia as operators of the product.
The global success of the product reinforces Leonardo’s market leadership in the high-energy military lasers domain, with the company’s site in Edinburgh, U.K., satisfying 70% of global demand for applications on airborne platforms and around 60% of the total market, including for ground-based applications. The Type 163 LTD is Leonardo’s most compact high energy laser product for ground forces. It was developed in response to the market need for a lightweight and compact laser designator for Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) which, while highly-portable, doesn’t sacrifice any of the power and accuracy which these soldiers rely on to call in timely and effective close air support.
The Type 163 Laser Target Designator is a man portable laser designed to provide laser designation for semi-active laser guided weapons. The battle proven Type 163 laser target designator has been designed specifically to meet all of today’s special and conventional force JTACs and JFOs mission requirements for marking and terminally controlling Semi Active Air to Ground weapons accurately onto the target at ranges up to 10km. Airborne and Space Systems Division has developed a new generation of athermal lasers providing low divergence and >70mJ per pulse. Full NATO STANAG 3733 capability in a very compact, light weight and low power configuration. In all, establishing a new landmark in size for lasers of this class.
The development of the Type 163 LTD drew heavily on Leonardo’s experience in providing high-energy targeting lasers for aircraft such as the F-35 and Apache helicopter, where space, weight and power are at a premium. The resulting product provides market-leading laser-designation and rangefinding capabilities in a package weighing just 2.3kg and has been battle-proven on operations in the Middle East. Features include immediate firing from switch-on and a continuous lasing capability, producing a high-energy laser with a narrow beam divergence. Leonardo’s laser business includes the supply of lasers for the F-35 aircraft, Apache helicopter and for targeting pods including the Lockheed Martin Sniper.