U.S. defense giant Northrop Grumman Corp. has announced that its LITENING advanced targeting pod has successfully completed its first test flights on the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet.
As noted by the corporation, the Navy selected LITENING to replace the legacy targeting pods on the F/A-18 fleet in early 2022.
“This first flight demonstrated LITENING’s ability to rapidly add modern, upgradeable mission capabilities to the Super Hornet,” said James Conroy, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman. “The pod’s digital video, autonomous target tracking, and laser sensors will give Naval aviators an entirely new set of capabilities for operations over land and sea today, and the growth capabilities built into LITENING’s modular design ensure that the pod can evolve to meet changing requirements.”
During the flight, pilots executed maneuvers and operations representative of combat missions, including ground moving target tracking, air-to-air tracking and target designation. The pilots also engaged the eye-safe training laser mode that allows the pod to be used for realistic training with combat controllers on the ground. The pilots were able to carry out these operations without advance training, showing the ease of use that has been made possible by close collaboration with the aviation community.
LITENING is currently in service with the Marine Corps, Air Force, Air National Guard and international customers. Northrop Grumman has delivered more than 900 LITENING pods.