Electronic Weapons: December 26, 2003


After six years of development, the U.S. Navy is finally getting its ATFLIR (Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared) pod into production. This will be used on navy F-18 aircraft and replace three existing pods (TFLIR, the navigation FLIR and the laser designator tracker) that do basically the same job, but not as well, while taking up more space. The ATFLIR gives the pilot an improved  see-in-the-dark (a heat sensing camera, or FLIR) capability, a laser designator and navigation gear for flying at night. ATFLIR is superior to the current LANTRIN and Nite Hawk pods, but comparable to the Israeli made LITENING. ATFLIR has been in testing since 1999 and had a lot of teething problems. Exact capabilities are classified, but targeting pods have a range (for the FLIR and laser designator) of 10-20 kilometers. Each ATFLIR costs about three million dollars.


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