Canadian defense minister Gordon O’Connor recently announced that Lockheed Martin’s Sniper ATP has won a contract for 36 surveillance and targeting pods to equip Canada’s CF-18 (upgraded F/A-18A and F/A-18B) aircraft. The contract includes spares, support equipment and integrated logistics support until 2020. Lockheed’ Martin’s release adds that the pods will be installed with “no aircraft modifications and no operational limitations.” This is especially important if the government plans to deploy CF-18s to Kandahar, Afghanistan in the near future.
This CF-18 Advanced Multi-Role Infrared Sensor (AMIRS) project is part of a larger modernization program initiated in 2001. Out of its original purchase of 138 aircraft (98 single-seat CF18A and 40 dual-seat CF18B), Canada retains an operational fleet of 60 CF-18s, plus an additional 25 CF-18Bs in service with 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron to train its fighter pilots.