The Australian Armed Forces will purchase additional Type 163 laser target designators from Leonardo as part of the LAND 17 Phase 2 Digital Terminal Control System – Capability Assurance program. Leonardo Australia has signed a contract for the delivery, a follow-on order, with Collins Aerospace Australia, according to a statement from Leonardo’s Australian subsidiary. According to the company, the delivery should happen in the second quarter of 2022.
Target markers, such as the Type 163, are an essential tool for determining targets in close air support and fire control. With the so-called laser designator, the targets are illuminated by the laser and thus marked. The aircraft’s precision weapons laser seeker heads (SAL seekers) recognize this marking and thus find the correct target.
To date, over 800 Type 163 LTD systems have been delivered to 27 countries including the UK, US, Canada and New Zealand, as well as NATO members such as Italy, France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and more recently Germany and Norway.
The Type 163 is developed and manufactured by Leonardo in Edinburgh (Scotland) Ltd. It is a lightweight, compact, high-energy laser product for use by ground forces. It combines compactness, light weight and high performance and reliability. The Type 163 laser target marker is specifically designed to meet the needs of Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) and Joint Fire Observer (JFO) of special and conventional forces using semi-active air-to-surface weapons with ranges of up to 10 km. was designed to fulfill. Mark and steer the target precisely.
According to the manufacturer, the development of the Type 163 LTD benefits from Leonardo’s experience in developing high-energy target lasers for aircraft, such as the F-35 and Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, where space, weight and performance play a role. it occurs. a pivotal role.
The product produces a high energy laser with narrow beam divergence. Designed with a focus on JTAC and JFO attachments, the system’s features include immediate laser availability and the ability to stay lit after power-up. With a weight of only 2.5 kg including battery and an output power of 80 mJ, the Type 163 Laser Traget Designator has a range of over 10 km. One battery charge enables the laser to be used continuously for a period of approximately 45 minutes without a cooling phase. Beam divergence of only <200 μRad ensures that even at target ranges of over ten kilometers, enough energy hits the target so that the sensor or targeting pod can locate the target even in bad weather and very bright ambient light.
For example, the 10X optic uses the same viewing channel as the laser to eliminate aberrations caused by temperature changes. A range finder allows the user to safely determine the distance to a target. A Picatinny rail offers the possibility to mount various C-Spot devices. With a volume requirement of two liters (322 x 142 x 87 mm), the compact design allows it to be stowed away and easily carried in a backpack. A remote control allows the target marker to be used from cover, for example on a tripod.