Viper Pods Paying Off

Viper Pods Paying Off: Air National Guard F-16s equipped with Theater Airborne Reconnaissance System targeting pods have added a new dimension for ground forces in Southwest Asia, providing high-quality still imagery of tactical objectives. F-16 Vipers from the 332nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, at Balad AB, Iraq, recently provided TARS imagery to aid coalition mission planning for a raid on a house that turned up insurgents and a weapons cache, according to New Jersey ANG Lt. Col. Kerry Gentry, the 332nd commander. TARS-equipped F-16s also provide battle damage assessment of air strike targets, since the pods can take pictures of a site before a GPS munition impact and then perform a post-drop analysis. (Other USAF assets also are providing this non-traditional type intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance capability.)