Lockheed Martin has offered BAE Systems the Pantera targeting and navigation sensor as the basis for a Eurofighter tool as the US manufacturer continues to seek a launch customer for the system.

Pantera was developed for a US Navy competition but lost to a Raytheon bid. Lockheed Martin also offered the pod to Spain for its Boeing F/A-18 Hornets with a belief that the system would be transferred to Eurofighter when it entered service. Spain subsequently selected the Rafael Litening.

A Lockheed Martin source says preliminary talks have been held, with BAE offering either the complete system or elements of it as a basis for a Eurofighter pod. BAE and France's Thomson-CSF Optronique are studying next generation targeting and navigation pods as part of their Joint Airborne Navigation and Attack technology demonstrator programme. Lockheed Martin is also seeking other partners in the remaining Eurofighter nations - Germany, Italy and Spain.

The source says Pantera's 640 x 480 element staring focal plane array infrared sensor could be of interest to a partner seeking to develop a new targeting sensor. Pantera is optimised for medium altitude and low-level operations, for which earlier pods were designed.

Source: Flight International