Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: Shared Reconnaissance Pod
Origin: United States of America
Parent System: SHARP
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2003
Total Production: 50
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Description: The Shared Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP) has been designed to carry out all-weather, day and night reconnaissance missions integrated on the US Navy F/A-18F aircraft. The SHARP pod will replace the film-based TARPS pod utilized by the US Navy F-14 Tomcat beginning in 2003. The SHARP pod accommodates Electro-Optical and Infrared sensors but there are many sensor payloads that can be integrated in the SHARP pod as well as other type of payloads. The SHARP pod has been designed for the US Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet but it is adaptable for many other aircraft.
The minimum number of SHARP pods required for ISR missions is 24, but the US Navy plans to purchase up to 50 SHARP pods (40 operational and 10 reserve/pipeline). The first SHARP-equipped Super Hornets will become operational aboard the CVN-68 USS Nimitz nuclear aircraft carrier. On 6 September 2005, the US Navy awarded a Raytheon's subsidiary a $20 million contract for production of six Shared Reconnaissance Pods (SHARPs) to be delivered during 2006.
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