SNIPER’s Sight Picture:

The SNIPER advanced targeting pod has been getting heavy combat time in Southwest Asia on both the F-15E and F-16 fleet. The program shows no sign of stopping anytime soon, according to Lockheed Martin program manager Mark Fischer. He told reporters covering the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., that USAF currently has ordered 522 of the pods, but he thinks that number will move to the right since the service plans to integrate the pod onto platforms such as the A-10 and B-1B. “We think the requirements are going to climb,” Fischer said Wednesday, noting that the original 522 number was supposed to cover just the F-16 and F-15. The pods have demonstrated a 96 percent mission capable rate while deployed to Southwest Asia, and the product has picked up a number of foreign customers—including Norway, Poland, Oman, and Belgium, and possibly Canada for its fleet of F-18s. The production line will not shut down until 2011 at the earliest, Fischer said, depending on buy rates.