Electronic Weapons: July 25, 2002


Norway has selected the Pantera precision targeting pods for its F-16s, ordering nine of them (plus spares, training, support, and installation) for $27 million. The contract has options for 12 more pods. This is the export version of the Sniper pod developed for the US Air Force. Pantera includes third-generation forward-looking infrared, autotrack, laser designation, and stabilization. A key selling point of Pantera and Sniper is that they are modular, meaning there will be only two maintenance levels (the front-line squadron mechanics and the factory). If a component fails its on-board test, it is simply replaced and sent back to the factory for evaluation and rebuilding. This is the system used for most home computers, although they tend to fail less often that complicated military equipment.--Stephen V Cole


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