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Netherlands selects Lockheed for advanced sniper pod

By Ryan Maass

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- The Royal Netherlands Air Force has selected Lockheed Martin to equip its fleet of F-16s with its Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod, the company announced Monday.

The contract was awarded through the Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation, including 29 pods and supporting equipment. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2016. The Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) is designed to integrate with military aircraft and provide positive target identification. Lockheed Martin has developed variants for its F-35 Lightning II joint-strike fighter, an aircraft still in its developmental phases.

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The pod works by incorporating a multi-spectral sensor that processes an image, allowing air crews to detect and identify the target's size, distance, and other tactical information. The pod is in use by the U.S. Air Force, and a variety of other air platforms around the world. Rich Lovette, director of Sniper international programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, praised the Royal Netherlands Air Force for being the product's 21st customer.

"Expedited delivery will enable the Royal Netherlands Air Force to rapidly deploy Sniper ATP to support current mission requirements," Lovette said in a statement. "Maintaining a high availability rate through our award-winning sustainment program will also ensure the Sniper ATPs remain operational for warfighters."

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The contract includes a training and maintenance service. A repair service will be provided through Lockheed Martin's partnership with the U.S. government.

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