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Australia to acquire additional laser target designators from Leonardo

According to Leonardo, Australia will operate more than 20 Type 163 LTDs after the latest contract. (Leonardo)

Leonardo Australia will provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with the Type 163 Laser Target Designator (LTD) under Australia's LAND 17 Phase 2 Digital Terminal Control System – Capability Assurance Program.

According to Leonardo, the contract for the Type 163 will be fulfilled in the second quarter of 2022. This order follows a previous contract.

A spokesperson from Leonardo told Janes that the ADF will be operating more than 20 Type 163 LTDs after the current order. Leonardo's spokesperson could not comment on the price of the contract.

“The Type 163 is manportable and also integrates with external systems, in this case, the digital terminal control systems (DTCS) that Collins Aerospace will deliver [to the ADF],” said the spokesperson. The LTD system also integrates with Collins Aerospace's shortwave infrared (SWIR) camera, which has a see-spot capability, the spokesperson added.

The Type 163 is designed to meet special and conventional joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs) and joint fires observers (JFOs) mission requirements. These missions include marking and terminally controlling semi-active air-to-ground weapons onto targets up to 10 km in distance.

Additionally, the Type 163 features “market-leading” laser-designation and rangefinding capabilities. “A key driver of this [capability] is the laser's athermal technology, which allows for a small size [of the LTD] and does not require power-hungry cooling systems,” the spokesperson added. The athermal technology is designed to reduce maintenance by lessening the number of components in the Type 163.

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