Here's a smaller weapon to add to yesterday's list or arms that are making their combat debuts in the Libyan air war.
This AP photo from March 19 shows a French Rafale fighter equipped with what looks like Thales' Areos photo-reconnaissance pod right on the jet's centerline. It could well be the first combat op where the Rafales are equipped with the pod. Areos allows the jets to take high-quality photos of ground targets 24 hours a day and instantly beam them back to command centers. This greatly enhances the Rafale pilots’ ability to find and track targets. Previously, the Rafale was limited to using a-built in forward-looking targeting camera. The pod has at least three camera apertures; one on the bottom and two on the sides.
The latest French jets are also being equipped with Thales' Damocles laser designator pods. This will allow the Rafales to direct laser guided bombs onto targets instead of relying on nearly 30-year old Mirage 2000s or Super Etendards equipped with targeting pods to paint their targets for them.