Last active B-1 gets Sniper pod

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — A sniper advanced targeting pod connects to the under carriage of a B-1 Bomber

 

The Air Force’s B-1 Bomber fleet has achieved a significant objective March 15 as the last active B-1 in the Air Force, located at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, received necessary modifications to operate the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod.

“The B-1 combined with the Laptop Controlled Targeting Pod upgrade is a perfect match,” said Master Sgt. Jon Looper, 7th Maintenance Group wing avionics manager. “We are now able to deliver an unprecedented level of payload with precision never seen before.”

Since November 2010, 7th Maintenance Group maintainers have been installing wiring throughout the B-1 bomber so operators could control the pod through a laptop onboard the aircraft, capable of carrying the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force, as well as travel at speeds more than 900 mph.

“With a B-1 overhead, it gives our ground troops an enormous sense of reassurance,” said Army Gen. David Petreaus, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. “When a bone is above, you have a sense that a true national asset is over your shoulder.”

The new system allows aircrews to look ahead with long-range video and see what is happening on the ground. Instead of relying on radar to identify a target, aircrew and commanders will have eyes on the target. It stabilizes the image and allows them to use a laser beam to target and engage in real-time. It also allows aircrews to give their own immediate bomb damage assessment.

“The new system uses video to help identify between friendly and enemy forces, and gives pinpoint coordinates of enemy targets, making close-air-support missions more effective than ever before,” Sergeant Looper said.

The sniper pod has streaming capability, which provides B-1 operators the ability to downlink the video captured by the pod to allow personnel on the ground to see exactly what the bomber crew saw.

“A B-1 plays quite a role given its versatility, endurance, precision of the weapons it carries, as well as the very capable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability that it brings to the fight in the form of the sniper pod in particular,” said General Petreaus.

Dyess AFB operates and maintains 36 B-1s, the largest fleet in the Air Force.

The B-1 will continue to see more upgrades in the future, as the B-1 is a top priority for Air Force officials. Upgrades in the bomber’s central integrated test system, as well as vertical situation display unit, are just some of the upgrades cited in the Air Force’s fiscal 2012 budget request.

Dyess Air Force Base

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