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25 Nov 05. Lockheed Martin briefed BATTLESPACE with regard to major new technological developments in its range of Electro-Optic products, Arrowhead and Sniper, in particular.

The first unit of Arrowhead was delivered to the U.S. Army for its Apache fleet in May following the go-ahead for production in July 2003. Lot 1 was awarded in November 2003 and Lot 2 in January 2005, the first equipped unit was in July 2005 out of a total of 704 units and all international customers. The U.K. placed its order for Arrowhead under a $212m contract announced this year for delivery from April 2007-10. Arrowhead provides a huge advantage over its TADS-PNVS predecessor in that it can detect power lines and obstacles, has multi-task targeting and bore sight and built-in test equipment that results in a 90% reduction in maintenance. In addition it is field retrofitable and far more compact. Its new targeting FLIR has double the range.

Lockheed has delivered over 100 Sniper pods from a total of 522. The system was deployed successfully in Iraq and described as, ‘the greatest pod in the business.’

The system has been deployed on F-16, F-15/E, F-18E/F and A-10 and is currently in-service with the Air forces of Norway, Poland and Oman. New potential customers include Canada, Netherlands and Singapore. A new application has been developed for tracking IEDs in Iraq.

“Has the technology developed for Arrowhead and Sniper migrated to any other systems?” the Editor asked Mori Leland, Business Development Director for Sniper XR, Pantera and JSF EOTS.

“Most certainly, the lessons learnt and the development of open-architecture software and digital EO has allowed us to develop the system for the JSF for which we were chosen in 2001 under a $200m development contract for the Electro-Optical targeting System that is embedded under the nose with a Northrop Grumman optical system. We have developed a third generation FLIR for this purpose.”

Underlining the importance of this technology to the company, Lockheed Martin has recently completed the contraction of a state-of-the-art facility in Orlando for the manufacture f these systems. The company sees huge opportunities in 23 countries for systems on fast jets, rotary wing variants and UAVs. Similar systems are under development for ground-based requirements.

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