South Korea's FA-50 Light Combat Aircraft Completes Tests with Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP)
South Korea's FA-50 Light Combat Aircraft Completes Tests with Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP)

US State Department Approves Sale of Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods to Polish Air Force

The Government of Poland has signed a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) with the United States for 34 AN/AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pods manufactured by Lockheed Martin. The Poland’s Armament Agency stated that the Sniper targeting pods will be integrated onto FA-50 Block 20 (FA-50PL) fighter jets, the contract is valued at USD 105 million. Also included are system support and support equipment; spare parts, consumables, accessories, and repair and return support; integration and test equipment and support; unclassified software delivery and support; unclassified Computer Program Identification Number (CPIN) systems; unclassified publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of Polish Airmed Forces that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe. The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin, Orlando, Florida. Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Poland. The proposed sale will improve the tactical effectiveness of the FA-50 fighter aircraft that Polish Air Force is buying from the Republic of Korea by enhancing its abilities to identify targets, track, and engage from a standoff distance; it will also increase interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces. Poland will have no difficulty absorbing these articles into its armed forces.

Korea Aerospace Industries Unveils First FA-50GF Light Combat Aircraft for Poland
Polish Air Force FA-50GF Light Combat Aircraft. (Photo by Korea Aerospace Industries)

The FA-50 is a light combat aircraft manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF). It is a light combat version of the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft. On 22 July 2022, Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said in a media interview that the country is buying 48 FA-50 fighters. On 28 July, KAI officially signed the deal for 12 FA-50 Block 10 and 36 FA-50PL Block 20 with the Polish government. FA-50 deliveries are to start in 2023. Blaszczak said KAI’s ability to deliver the aircraft quickly was the decisive factor in it being chosen. As a result of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Polish Air Force desired urgently to replace their remaining MiG-29 fighter and Su-22 attack aircraft and the U.S. was unable to supply additional F-16s in such a short timeframe.

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). Its image processing allows aircrews to detect, identify and engage tactical-size targets outside the range of most enemy air defenses, giving it a crucial role in the destruction of enemy air defense missions. It also supports urban engagements beyond jet noise range for counter-insurgency operations. It offers a 3-5X increase in detection range over the older LANTIRN system, and is currently flying on U.S. Air Force and multinational F-16, F-15, B-1B, CF-18, Harrier, A-10, B-52 and Tornado aircraft.

Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod Successfully Integrates With Kuwait F-18 Super Hornet
AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP). (Photo by Lockheed Martin)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.