Thales Optronique (Hall 4 Innovation Zone A1) unveiled its successor to the Damoclès targeting pod on the eve of the Farnborough show. The new sensor system, called “Talios,” should be ready in time for deployment on a major new operational standard of the Dassault Rafale multi-role fighter that is due to enter service in 2018. A new-generation targeting pod, known as PDL-NG, has been one of the key elements associated with the Rafale’s F3R upgrade standard. Development of PDL-NG started in 2009, with approval to proceed affirmed in January 2013.
Israeli defense group Rafael believes it will be more responsive to the markets it serves following the reorganization that took effect at the beginning of this year. The company is now split into three divisions: air superiority, land and naval systems, and air and C4ISR.
Making its public debut at the Dubai Airshow is the Air Tractor AT-802i, an agricultural aircraft heavily modified for counter-insurgency/light attack/ISR missions. The aircraft were purchased by the UAE with a mission system integrated by Iomax, and it is believed that a batch of 24 is nearing the end of delivery after the first arrived at the end of 2010. The U.S.-based company has now migrated the mission system from the Air Tractor AT-802 to the outwardly similar Thrush 510P airframe and launched the aircraft as the ArchAngel at this year’s Paris Air Show.
The U.S. Air Force (USAF) approved full-rate production of the Sniper advanced targeting pod under its ATP-Sensor Enhancement (ATP-SE) program, manufacturer Lockheed Martin announced on January 16. In November, the service approved full-rate production of Northrop Grumman’s Litening pod under the same program.
Rafael is promoting a new version of the very successful Litening pod here at Paris, after celebrating the 1,000th sale of this targeting and navigation system. It has also developed a multi-sensor ground station from one that it previously built to handle imagery from the Rafael Reccelite reconnaissance pod.
Oman is set to buy a further 18 Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft in a package worth $3.5 billion. The U.S. Congress was notified of the potential sale earlier this month. The package also includes conformal fuel tanks, 18 Lockheed Martin Sniper targeting pods and four Goodrich DB-110 reconnaissance pods.
Systems house Rafael produces a wide portfolio of sophisticated products, but here at the Farnborough airshow it is expecting significant interest in its reconnaissance sensors. At the top of the line is the RecceLite system, a derivative of the proven Litening targeting pod. RecceLite uses the same pod and infrastructure as the Litening, but is optimized for a variety of reconnaissance tasks from low, medium and high altitudes.
Lockheed Martin announced another order for Sniper targeting pods from the U.S. Air Force, and revealed that Saudi Arabia has recently become a customer, presumably to fit on its F-15 fighters. The Sniper provides high-resolution imagery for precision targeting or simply for monitoring the ground, in a role that has become known as nontraditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Goodrich ISR Systems has been on the acquisition trail and some of the resulting technology is on display here at the Dubai Airshow (Stand W360). Best known for the DB-110 aerial sensor it has sold to six countries, the Goodrich unit is now marketing additional aerial sensors after buying Recon/Optical Inc. (ROI) last year.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has announced that it is to supply the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod to the Royal Saudi Air Force. The Snipers will replace the LANTIRN system used by the RSAF’s F-15S strike aircraft. The deal represents the first phase of a $100 million multi-year sensor modernization program, conducted through Foreign Military Sales channels.
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