Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A-10Cs to recieve new sniper pods

by Airman 1st Class Brigitte Brantley
23rd Wing Public Affairs

7/7/2009 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- This fall, Moody pilots operating in the skies over Iraq and Afghanistan will be armed with new targeting pods designed to increase the already lethal capabilities of the A-10C Thunderbolt II.

The new sniper pods will replace the Litening Advanced Targeting Pods currently in use.

A number of the 23rd Fighter Group's A-10Cs will upgrade to the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods, which are already used by other fighter squadrons in Arizona and Germany.

"It's the Air Force's pod of choice and is already in use in combat as well as in several active duty units who are equipped with both the A-10Cs and other aircraft including the B-1B Lancer, F-15Es and F-16s," said Lt. Col. Derek Oaks, 75th Fighter Squadron commander. "Aside from the new improvements, it's important to focus on the basic abilities that any targeting pod gives to the A-10C.

"There are some differences in its capabilities, ranges, weight and mechanization, but the way they will be utilized is essentially the same," added the colonel. "It has a longer range, a stronger laser and is about 100 pounds lighter, but the software to use it and how it attaches to the plane is the same and doesn't require any special installation.

The sniper pods are used for many purposes, including non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to monitor potential enemy location or movements and also to escort convoys with a great stand-off range which helps allow for a better opportunity to pinpoint potential threats.

They are capable of searching for and recognizing improvised explosive devices from a medium altitude and passing on relevant information to the ground commander. The pods can also direct laser-guided bombs into targets by generating enough laser energy for the bomb to see and track until impact as well as mark targets day or night for other aircraft.

"The use of sniper pods in the deployed environment is essential to our success while downrange," said Capt. Ryan Hayde, 75th FS chief of weapons and tactics. "Without their use, we would not be able to complete the mission.

"With the way the new sniper pods were designed to seamlessly integrate with our A-10Cs, there's no delay in having them ready to use or train with," he added.

Together, the 74th FS and the 75th FS have logged more than 18,000 combat flight hours in the A-10Cs while deployed.


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