Lockheed Martin integrates Sniper pod with Kuwait Air Force F/A-18 Super Hornet

Lockheed Martin integrates Sniper pod with Kuwait Air Force F/A-18 Super Hornet

By Dario Leone
May 28 2021
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Lockheed Martin, in conjunction with the US Navy, completed its first flight test integrating Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet for the Kuwait Air Force.

Lockheed Martin, in conjunction with the US Navy, completed its first flight test integrating Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet for the Kuwait Air Force. Sniper ATP will be located on the Weapon Station 5, an area on the aircraft where pods or weapons attach and is expected to be fielded with the aircraft in late 2023. This integration gives existing and future Super Hornet fleets the ability to add Sniper ATP’s precision targeting and surveillance capabilities, which are critical to pilot survivability.

“Integrating Sniper ATP onto Weapon Station 5, commonly known as the ‘cheek station,’ brings state-of-the-art tracking algorithms, two-way-data-link, and many other capabilities to the Kuwait F/A-18E/F crews that will positively impact the overall success of their missions,” said Kenen Nelson, director of Fixed Wing Sensor Programs at Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control, in Lockheed Martin’s news release. “This also means that all F/A-18E/F customers will have the option of a reliable, easily maintainable and modern targeting pod.”

To verify the mechanics of the system, flight testing with a non-operational Sniper ATP was conducted at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland in March. Subsequently, flight-testing with an operational Sniper ATP was conducted at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California in March. Both first flight tests were successful.

“The Sniper ATP provides an additional tool in the already robust Kuwait F/A-18 Super Hornet package,” said Jessica Idleman, Boeing program manager Kuwait F/A-18 program. “The Super Hornet provides the warfighter with enhanced situational awareness and Sniper ATP is an important part of our technology insertion plan and future growth of the platform.”

Currently, Sniper ATP flies on both the Kuwait F/A-18C/D and Canadian CF-18 Hornets. As the Kuwait Air Force transitions to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, they will benefit by receiving the new capabilities that the latest Sniper ATP configuration provides to the Super Hornet fleet. There are currently more than 27 countries and 15 different types of aircraft operating with the platform-agnostic Sniper ATP.

Kuwait was cleared to buy the F/A-18 Super Hornet during the final days of the Obama administration.

Then in June 2018 Boeing was awarded a $1.5 billion contract to build 28 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets for the Kuwait Air Force.

Kuwait is buying 22 of the single-seat “E” variant and six of the two-seat “F” variant Super Hornet. The F/A-18E/F aircraft will supplement and eventually replace the Kuwait Air Force’s ageing fighter aircraft.

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Photo credit: U.S. Navy / Lockheed Martin


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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