Nearing a Big Capability Boost

The unified efforts of Air Force developmental and operational testers from Dyess AFB, Tex., and Edwards AFB, Calif., are making possible the integration and checkout of the Sniper targeting pod on the B-1B bomber at an accelerated pace. Because of this, USAF expects that the capability will be operational as early as this summer, thereby providing a big boost to coalition forces in Southwest Asia. Indeed Air Force officials directing the air campaigns in that theater have described getting B-1s equipped with Snipers as a top priority. The bombers are already a workhorse weapons-delivery platform supporting ground operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. “The targeting pod is probably one of the most significant upgrades to the B-1,” said Capt. Brandon Miller, a B-1 flight commander and pilot with Edwards’s 419th Flight Test Squadron. “This is significantly going to decrease the time from a request for a bomb on target to actually dropping a weapon, creating the desired lethal effects, and then being able to assess and re-attack, if necessary.” B-1 aircrews will also be able to share real-time images from the pod with joint terminal attack controllers on the ground. (Edwards report by Maj. Nori La Rue)