THE ITALIAN AIR FORCE has launched a five-year programme to develop a reconnaissance/battle-damage-assessment sensor and avionics package for its AMX strike aircraft.

The package, is intended to be carried internally and to supplant the reconnaissance capability, provided by 3 Wing flying, the AMX fitted with the Orpheus pod.

The Orpheus pod was originally deployed with the air force's Lockheed F-104s and is considered too bulky and heavy to be suitable in the long term for the AMX.

The air force has specified that the replacement system will be capable of transmitting data in real time, using an electro-optical sensor operating in both visual and infra-red wavelengths.

The service intends to procure the sensor package off-the-shelf with Loral, Vinten, Thomson- CSF and unidentified Israeli companies all understood to be potential bidders.

Source: Flight International