Northrop Grumman is planning to offer a fourth generation enhancements to its LITENING AT precision targeting and sensor system, currently deployed with the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command, U.S. Air National Guard, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command.
Currently in development, the fourth generation version of LITENING will feature an advanced 1024 x 1024 pixels (1k x 1k) forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor for improved target detection and recognition ranges under day/night conditions; new two-way data links and other networking capabilities to enable improved communications between ground-based and airborne forces; new sensors for improved target identification (ID); and other advanced target recognition and identification features. Other product improvements already incorporated into LITENING as part of the fourth generation version include a new 1k charge-coupled device sensor, which provides improved target detection and recognition ranges under daylight conditions.
Northrop Grumman has already begun flight testing of a new target ID sensor, and later this year will test a second ID sensor that features an advanced laser. In addition, the new 1k FLIR sensor will undergo preliminary system tests by year’s end as a precursor to flight testing in 2007.
Northrop Grumman’s LITENING AT system is a self-contained, multi-sensor laser target-designating and navigation system that enables aircrews to detect, acquire, track and identify ground targets for highly accurate delivery of both conventional and precision-guided weapons. To date, over 400 pods have been ordered with over 360 fielded, the largest number of any advanced targeting and sensor system. It is currently deployed on AV-8B, A-10, B-52, F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft. Since the introduction of LITENING in 1999, the system has undergone numerous major upgrades to ensure continued combat relevance in an ever-changing battlespace, with the fourth generation version the next step in that evolution.