Air Force News

Laser-targeting pods permit precision strikes

Released: 3 Nov 1998

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AFPN) -- Pilots from the 466th Fighter Squadron here, the flying unit of the 419th Fighter Wing, made history and reached another milestone Oct. 27.

For the first time in t he history of Air Force Reserve Command, four Block 30 F-16 Fighting Falcons flown by the 466th FS were configured with infrared laser-targeting pods.

The pods give squadron pilots the ability to release and self-aim laser-guided bombs from the cockpit. The laser is aligned with the F-16's fire-control computer, so the pilot uses his internal targeting system to aim at targets. After the pilot illuminates the target with the laser, he releases his guided munitions, which follow the laser beam to the target.

"The targeting pods are used to see the ground in day and night operations and have been routinely used since the early 1990s," said Maj. Michael Brill, a 466th FS pilot. Brill was the first Air Force pilot to attain first 3,000, then 4,000 hours in the F-16.

"Prior to this we had no capacity for hard-to-kill reinforced targets," said Brill. "The only laser-targeted weapon capacity we had was the Maverick missile, which has a small warhead. These pods give us the capability for precision strikes."

Until the pod installation on 466th aircraft, laser-guided bombs were only dropped from Block 40 and later versions of the F-16.

Wing people credit the active force's 388th FW at Hill for making the accomplishment possible. The 388th provided the 419th with the high-tech targeting pods needed to guide the bombs. An ongoing agreement with the 388th will keep the Reserve F-16s fitted with the pods until the 419th is able to obtain its own pods through other channels. (Courtesy of AFRC News Service)


* F-16 Fighting Falcon
* Air Force Reserve Command
* Hill Air Force Base, Utah