The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman to provide LITENING G4 advanced targeting systems.
Under the $103m contract, Northrop will supply the advanced targeting pods for the US Marine Corps (USMC) in addition to G4 upgrade kits and spares to the Air National Guard to bring Block 1 pods to the G4 configuration.
Northrop Grumman EO/IR targeting systems vice president Jim Mocarski said: "LITENING’s achievement of 1.5 million flight hours is a testament to its reliability, flexible upgrade path and adaptability to multiple missions."
The LITENING G4 pod is a fifth-generation targeting and surveillance system, designed to deliver unsurpassed imagery using 1K forward-looking infrared (FLIR), 1K charge-coupled device (CCD) sensors, and wider field of view and enhanced zoom capability.
The pod features significant enhancements in terms of both recognition range and image quality and delivers more precise target identification and location at longer ranges for battlefield conditions, as opposed to previous generations of LITENING targeting pods systems.
The pod also uses a laser target imaging programme (LTIP), which employs short wave infrared (SWIR) laser augmented imaging as a means of improving the targeting system’s ability to capture images, particularly in situations where other systems are ineffective.
In March 2012, Northrop has completed delivery of the 100th Litening G4 targeting pod as part of the separate indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts with the US Air Force (USAF) and USMC.
The pods are also in service with the Italian and Spanish navies, as well as the air forces of Australia, Finland, Israel, the Netherlands, and Portuguese, and the USMC.
Image: Northrop Grumman-built LITENING G4 advanced targeting pod installed on an F/A-18 Hornet aircraft. Photo: courtesy of the US Government.