Friday, September 25, 2020

Northrop Grumman’s latest targeting pod system surprises experts

U.S. weapons maker Northrop Grumman Corp released on Wednesday new footage that showed the capability of its latest LITENING advanced precision targeting pod system.

LITENING significantly increases the combat effectiveness of the aircraft during day, night and under-the-weather conditions in the attack of ground and air targets with a variety of standoff weapons (i.e., laser-guided bombs, conventional bombs and GPS-guided weapons). It brought unprecedented precision and situational awareness to strike, surveillance and humanitarian missions.

“With LITENING, pilots had a clearer picture than ever before, both day and night, and the ability to work more closely with forces on the ground to carry out precision strikes,” a Northrop Grumman news release states. “Since that time, the pod has evolved to adapt to a changing world.”

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The new footage has surprised experts with improved camera stability and picture quality.

“Check out the resolution on the latest LITENING targeting pod,” Tyler Rogoway, a defense journalist who serves as the editor of the War Zone webpage, said on Twitter, adding that “Amazing how far things have come.”

The modular design of LITENING has enabled rapid evolution in sensors, pilot-vehicle interfaces and processing capabilities. The original pods contained 256-pixel FLIR sensors. Today, LITENING can provide digital, high definition video at four times that resolution. From design to implementation, the digital video capability was realized in just 12 months.

LITENING is the only targeting pod in the Department of Defense inventory that provides dedicated infrared, visible and laser apertures; an active short wave infrared sensor to enhance combat identification; and high-definition digital video to the cockpit.

LITENING is in service with all components of the combat Air Force, the Marine Corps and several international customers. Through its 24/7 logistics support program, LITENING maintains an availability rate in excess of 95 percent. The pod has been integrated on a wide range of platforms, including AV-8B, A-10, B-52, C-12, C-130, F-15, F-16, F/A-18, and MQ-9.

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Executive Editor

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