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Pocket Sized Forward Entry Device (PFED)

The joint Pocket-sized Forward Entry Device (PFED) is a new military grade Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) application designed primarily for forward observers, artillery fire direction and target acquisition missions. The PFED is an integrated system, comprising of communications-enabled RPDA, GPS receiver and laser range-finding binoculars. Similar systems also support intelligence reporting. Similar systems are currently under development to support specific forward air control, mortar fire control and special operations non-line-of-sight missile planning/management applications.
The integration of GPS and laser binoculars enables the user to instantaneously acquire direction, distance and vertical interval to the target, determining heading and speed of moving targets. This data provides local calculation of the target coordinates. The operator can add target information to the report, such as type of target, or munitions selected for the attack.

Previously forward observers used maps and radio to pinpoint target location, determine grid coordinates and verbally call in fire requests. A typical fire order sequence could take over 45 seconds. With the PFED, this process is shrinking to less than 10 seconds and is much more reliable and accurate, due to all range and location calculations processed and transferred between machines, eliminating the human error risk. The next version of PFED, expected to be released by the end of 2004, is to contain an embedded military GPS further reducing size, system power consumption and weight of the system. Integration with the laser/binocular will also be simplified using Bluetooth wireless networking technology.

BB 2590 Li-ion Rechargeable Battery

The BB 2590 lithium ion rechargeable battery is the new generation of rechargeable battery, planned to replace BB 390 Ni-Cd models which was used primarily for training. Several manufacturers are producing the battery, and new chargers are offered to provide optimal support for the product.

The British Army was one of the first forces to adapt rechargeable batteries for its combat equipment. The batteries chosen by the British Army are using the Lithium-ion (Li-ion) Kaizen cell developed by AEA (picture at right), fitted with integrated intelligent electronics offer reduced size and weight, compared to current technology cells. A typical 6 man patrol will have full control over its battery resources, and be able reduce its attributable battery weight load from 14kg to less than 3kg – giving advantages in both mobility and capacity for other equipment. The new cells has been designed specifically to meet the extreme requirements of rugged applications and thanks to its hermetic sealing and no memory effect, even after periods of inactivity, it will still deliver full performance. The battery offers effective operation in extreme temperatures, ranging from -51 degrees centigrade to +75 degrees centigrade. The temperature performance of the Cell will end the practice of “shirt stuffing” whereby the existing Ni-Cd battery is carried next to the skin in an attempt to keep it warm. Improved recharging is achieved by more reliable fuel gauging, optimized charge and discharge regimes and battery history monitoring enable maximization of battery life – up to 1200 recharging cycles, four times more often than previous NiCd batteries. The HF Radio battery for Bowman batteries utilize the Mil Std BB2590 form factor, to provides high capacity, yet offers the rugged, light weight and wide temperature operability features.

Another type of the 2590 cell was introduced by Ultralife Batteries in mid 2004 is the UBI-2590 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery, with two independent 15-volt sections, each with separate protection electronics and capacity gauges, enables users to operate the battery in either 15-volt or 30-volt modes. Its capacity in the 15-volt mode is 12.0 Ah @ 1A @ 23°C and 6.0 Ah @ 500 mA @ 23°C in the 30-volt mode. The battery has a maximum weight of 1.44 Kg and has an operating temperature range of –20°C to 60°C.

Valence Technology Inc. is also offering a 2590 type battery named VLNC-2590 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery, produced with Saphion technology (phosphate based cathode) which is considered safer, more stable than cobalt-oxide based material used for conventional cathodes. The package has two separately protected 12V sections and capacity gauges. The battery weighs 1.128 kg and produces 8.6 Ah @ 1A @ 23°C and 4.3 Ah @ 500 mA @ 23°C in the 30-volt mode. Operating temperature range of –20°C to 60°C.

BA 5590 Lithium Battery

The most common battery is the BA 5590. This battery is rated at 7.2 Ah at 70 F and 5.6 Ah at -20 F. Based on the Li/SO2 chemistry, in use the US Military in communications applications over the past 10 – 15 years, this type was the only lithium technology currently available that has a proven successful record in combat situations. With a nominal 200 mA drain in typical use, the battery could provide 28 hours of operation at the minimum temperature.One of the leading manufacturers of BA 5590 is Saft. The company produces three versions of the BA 5590 battery: the BA 5590 Lithium Sulfur Dioxide and Lithium Manganese Dioxide (LiMnO2) are used as primary sources while Lithium Rechargeable (BA 2590 Li-ion) are gradually replacing some primary batteries in military equipment. In the period 1999 – 2003 Saft delivered 1,000,000 BA-5590 batteries to the US Military, and was the largest supplier of batteries during the 2003 war in Iraq.

Rafael’s SPICE Guided Weapon

Rafael's Spice 1000 guided weapon carries a 500 kg (1,000 pound) Mk 83 warhead. It is capable of attacking targets at ranges extended beyond 60 km. Photo: Rafael

Providing a fully autonomous navigation and precision-strike capability, Spice-2000 achieves a stand-off range of over 60 kilometers. Spice-1000 achieves an even greater range, due to its unique deployable wing. Both Spice-2000 and Spice-1000 are easily integrated onto a wide range of single and dual-seater fighter aircraft, and require no aircraft modifications. It has been successfully integrated onto the F-15, F-16 and Tornado aircraft. It is operational with the Israel Air Force and is on order for the Hellenic Air Force. Greece intends to buy 200 of the Spice 1000 types and 100 of the heavier Spice 2000 versions.

The Israel Air Force is already operating the Spice 2000 weapon, carrying the Mk84 1 ton pound warhead (2,000 pounds). Photo: Rafael
Rafael's Spice 1000 guided weapon carries a 500 kg (1,000 pound) Mk 83 warhead. It is capable of attacking targets at ranges extended beyond 60 km. Photo: Rafael

Spice offers day, night and adverse weather capabilities, based on its dual CCD / IIR seeker and advanced scene-matching algorithms. At close-in distances, Spice recognizes the target and correlates it to the intelligence images previously stored in its memory. As a result of this capability, Spice can overcome TLE (Target Location Error) and GPS jamming. The Spice mission profile can be set to a specific azimuth and dive angle to suit the selected target profile, such as a steep dive angle for target penetration. Spice offers a fully autonomous operation, semi-autonomous mode or manual modes of operation, utilizing a datalink. Manual target acquisition is enabled under conditions where the seeker fails to detect the target (due to deteriorating weather conditions, or other interference), enabling the operator to assist the system in this critical phase. The manual mode enables the weapon system operator to carry ‘man in the loop’ attack for maximum control and agility.

An Israeli F-16D equipped with the Spice 2000 weapon, prepared for a flight testing mission. Photo: IAF

Syrian Ballistic Missile Arsenal

The reasons behind the volley of rebukes against Bashar Assad, by the US administration are based, not only on Damascus becoming a haven to Iraqi top official refugees, but on solid intelligence, which focuses on Syria’s missile and chemical warfare arsenal.

Although this information is not new, the timing for action to contain Sysia’s continued efforts in this direction, seems to be right, with the Iraqi campaign being in its final operational stages. Syria’s involvement in Operation Desert Storm 1991 had provided its military leaders with an excellent opporunity to study the highly lethal effect of modern weapons, in comparison to the ex-Soviet materiel, which made up the majority of Syria’s military arsenal. One of the first lessons was the recognition, that a new strategy would be needed to overcome the Israeli air superiority, which had sofar, in all the previous conflicts, prevented any Arab penetration into its airspace.

Counter-balancing Israeli airpower thus received top priority in Syrian’s strategic armament program.
Aided by foreign military and scientific advisors, Syria invested huge financial resources in building an impressive ballistic missile force, and at the same time, went one step further in developing strategic capabilities through chemical weapons grade material, which could be mounted on missile warheads, thus becoming an antidote to Israel’s nuclear potential, to which Syria has felt intimidated for decades.
The Syrian Missile Command is located in Aleppo and controls three mobile surface-to-surface brigades, each including one battalion of FROG-7 ( range:70 km- payload:400 kg), one battalion of SS-21 Scarab Short Range Solid Fuel Ballistic Missiles ( 120 km-120 kg) and one battalion of SCUD-B ( 300 km-985 kg) liquid-fuel ballistic missiles.

To enhance its strategic capability, Syria has acquired an uncertain number of North Korean versions of the Russian Scud-C SSM ( range:-500 km payload: 500 kg) and intelligence reports indicate local production/ assembly facilities of this missile identified near Aleppo and Hamah. (*)

The basic Syrian Scud unit is generally consisting of 18 launchers and 50 missiles.
In September 2000 Syria tested a North Korean version of the Scud-D SSM ( range:-700 km, payload:-400 kg?). The Israeli Arrow 2 Green Pine radar picked up the launch immediately and tracked its trajectory along several hundred kilometers until impact somwehere in the Syrian desert. It was the first indication that Syria had acquired such a long range missile.

An unspecified number of Scud C/D missiles ( some suspected mounting Chemical warheads) are coming under direct control of the presidential palace in Damascus and could be used as a first-strike assault.
The Syrian missile strike capability has been significantly enhanced through an ambitious underground shelter program, which includes hardened concrete silos in a network of subterranean tunnels built with Chinese and North Korean construction assistance.

Two of these facilities have been under satellite observation for years, following the construction progress closely.

In September 1997 an American researcher specialising in satellite interpretation, named Harold Hough identified a Syrian missile site, which indicated Scud-C presence with 36 launchers, protected by concrete berms. The site was located about 25 km from Hama. A year later, during the mounting tension with Israel, reports mentioned Syrian missile units redeploying to a location near Damascus. The Al-Safir complex, in northern Syria, close to the Turkish border, is a huge site of underground bunkers and tunnel networks, extending to over a wast highly top secret area, its perimeter well protected and guarded by sophisticated electronic surveillance equipment. In a series of satellite images, the site and its specific installations can be visited through: http/www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/syria/al-safir.htm. A closer look on this site reveals a Scud base protected by SA-2 air defence missile batteries, clearly visible are the SAM battery protective berms, munition storage bunkers and the control center complete with the Fan-Song radar control vans.

But there is more!
A high-voltage sub-station indicates that there is a lot going on at this highly protected secret site, which appears on no official Syrian map. A normal storage facility would not require a large volume of electricity for its routine function. This one, at Al-Safir includes not only a powerful electric supply station, but also forced cooling towers indicating industrial process usually found at plants requiring disposal of waste heat. Chemical process for nerve agents produce such highly unstable intermediates that react explosively when mixed with water. Steam-heating and water cooling must be replaced with special heat-exchange fluids and heating oils that require constant cooling process, rather than normal steam vents to dispose the waste heat.

Between 1995 and 2002, during which the site was under satellite photo surveillance an additional underground facility was built for suspected Scud-D missiles. The large buildings measured 30×130 m. A new command and control facility, located near the tunnel entrances was also sighted. The tunnel entrances are of especial interest. Protected by concrete walls against direct attack with precision munitions, each of the portals are wide enough to accomodate the Russian-built MAZ-543 Transporter for the Scud missile, which can rapidly move in and out at minimum time.

However, there is a technical snag, which, at least sofar, makes this site highly vulnerable to air attack:

As the Syrian missile arsenal is still consisting of liquid fueled versions, the preparatory launching process takes about 90 minutes for the first launch, which is crucial, if the location is under constant satellite surveillance. Moreover, the entire process must be performed outside the underground shelter, as the fuel liquid is highly toxic to the handling crew, which must also wear cumbersome protective gear, rendering the process difficult under adverse climatic conditions. This period, in which the launching process is not only highly vulnerable to attack, but can also become highly lethal if chemical weapons grade material is loaded into the missile warhead. Precisely due to this operational deficiency, the Syrians aim to achieve solid fuel capability, but this requires sophisticated technologies, which cannot easily be obtained if a national scientific infrastructure is not present.

Thus, as long as this technology is not available, analysts assume, that the Syrian missile threat to Israel is moderate, or at least highly vulnerable for attempting a surprise attack, based on the constant high alert status of the Israeli air force and its sophisticated electronic intelligence monitoring systems and ever vigilant satellite surveillance, which can render real-time early warning directing a devastating pre-emptive precision strike on known missile sites, or operational redployments to alternative locations.

(*) Deliveries of Scud-C/D from North Korea to Syria

March 1991- 24 Scud-C + 20 TEL paid US$ 250 mio (approx)
April 1991- 60 ” 12 ” ” US$ 500 mio
May 1991- 36 ” ?
1992- 24 ” assembly equipment
1993- ? ” +7 MAZ-543 by Russian Condor to Damascus Int Airport
1994- ? unspecified number of Scud-C cluster warheads
1995- 26 ” via Bandar Abas (Iran)
2000- ? Scud-D
2000- 50? Nodong missiles + 7 TEL US$ 600 mio ( paid Libya, Iraq?)

Updated 21 January 2003 by NTI

Israel Offers Mi-24/35 Upgrades

The wide availability of Mi-24/35 “Hind” helicopters in the third world and Eastern European countries is attracting aviation industries specializing in modernizations to offer upgrading packages for this rotorcraft. More than 3,000 Hinds designed by the Russian design bureau Mil, were built and produced in Moscow, Rostov and Arsenyev factories since their 1970 inception. About 1,500 are believed to remain in service in some 30 countries. Modernization and “Westernization” packages are currently offered by the Russian Rostvertol company, as well as by a number of western companies, from the UK, Israel and South Africa.

The Russians introduced basic modifications with their Mi-24 design, with the installation of cockpit lighting modifications, compatible with night vision goggles. Other improvements include the installation of US supplied FLIRs, GPS navigation systems, (as provided to the air force of Zimbabwe). Further modifications are now promoted by Rosvertol

The first major modification was performed on a Mi-24/35 fleet, probably in India. The Israel Aircraft Industries Tamam electro-optics company performed a comprehensive conversion for the an unidentified Mi-24 fleet, with the introduction of night operation capability. Designated `Mission 24′ (shown in photo above), the modification included 25 helicopters fitted with the Tamam Multi-mission Optronics Stabilized Payload system incorporating TV, FLIR imaging and automatic target tracker, and an IAI/MLM mission computer. The cockpit was modified to comply with night vision goggles lighting and a monocular helmet sight.

El-Op, currently a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, has also proposed a derivative of its COMPAS thermal/TV optronics payload for Mi-24 installation. The company offers its comprehensive upgrading suite for Mi-24s, including a digitized, highly integrated “glass cockpit”, and enhanced weapons systems integration. The helicopter retain the Russian 9K113M Ataka missiles, but will also be able to use western anti-tank missiles chosen by the operating air force. For example, Poland recently announced the selection of the Israeli Spike ER (formerly known as NT-D) was chosen.

Hunter UAV Completes Testing of new BAT Derivative – laser guided Viper Strike Munitions

The US Army completed firing tests of the Northrop Grumman Viper Strike precision munitions, fired from an IAI/Northrop Grumman Hunter UAV. Viper Strike is a derivative of the BAT “brilliant Attack munitions”, which uses a semi-active laser guidance. The new weapon is designed for operation over built-up and urban area, where visibility and collateral damage risks restrict the use of flat trajectory attacks from the air (such as with the Hellfire missile). In the tests, the new weapon scored 7 direct hits out of nine launches. Various types of tactical targets were  engaged included pickup trucks, tanks using countermeasures and multiple rocket launchers.

During the initial round of tests, four inert munitions carrying flight data recorders were dispensed to verify system performance. For the actual demonstration, nine tactical munitions fitted with laser sensors developed by Elbit Systems and IAI/MBT Division, and live warheads, were deployed against a recognized set of simulated enemy targets. Seven of the nine scored direct hits, rendering their targets tactically inoperable. The remaining two munitions missed their targets by a few feet but still inflicted measurable damage. The causes of these two misses are being analyzed in detail along with the rest of the data.

These tests were part of a program designed to demonstrate the operational capability of the Hunter/Viper Strike integrated system. According to Emmitt Gibson, V.P. for precision munitions at Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Systems sector, the demonstration validated the Viper Strike concept and provides the US Army with an armed UAV with a lethal precision strike capability.

This method of operation was already proven successful in Afghanistan, when general Atomics Predator  UAVs, operated by the CIA and the US Air Force, have fired Hellfire missiles from high altitude. It is believed to participate in a similar deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom, as part of the SSM and SAM suppression missions and in precision strikes against high priority targets.

X-Guard – New Towed Active RF Decoy

RAFAEL recently released details about a new towed active decoy,  designed to protect combat aircraft from radar seeking threats, such as semi-active and active (radar) homing air/air and surface/air missiles. The system called X-Guard lures the attacking missiles away from the protected platform, by creating an attractive false target signal which diverts the homing missile from the platform. The smart decoy is designed to defeat advanced tracking techniques, including modern “Monopulse and Look on Receive-Only (LORO) techniques. The system is linked to the aircraft’s defensive avionics and EW system through a fiber-optic cable operates over a wide frequency range, to counter various types of radars and missiles. The decoy is retrievable and can be deployed several times during a mission.

Tank Sight System

Tank Sight System built by Vectop Battlefield Imaging Systems integrates an array of CCD/ICCD video cameras installed in different positions around an armoured fighting vehicle, to enable the crew to cover “dead zones”. An array of four cameras provide a complete peripheral coverage (360 degrees) of a tank, including movement backwards. The IDF uses the Tank Sight System in Merkava types, including Mk3 and Mk4.

Typhoon Stabilized Marine Gun System

The view of the controller's console (left seat) as seen at the bridge of a Israel Shipyards Shaldag Mk II fast patrol boat.

Typhoon stabilized marine gun system developed by RAFAEL is compatible with many automatic cannons. The system total weight is 690 – 750 kg (including the gun), and it can be fitted with various naval guns, including 20, 23, 25, 27 or 30 mm guns produced by Boeing, Oerlikon, Mauser or Giat. Typhoon can be installed on small deck space and does not require deck penetration. The gun is equipped with 160 – 210 rounds stored on the mount, (actual number depends on caliber). Additional ammunition is stored below deck.

The view of the controller's console (left seat) as seen at the bridge of a Israel Shipyards Shaldag Mk II fast patrol boat.
Typhoon stabilized gun mount, demonstrating the 23mm system

The system is also fitted with an on-mount day/night camera (CCD/ICCD and FLIR) which is integrated in the remote control loop. The system is capable of traverse of +/- 120 degrees and elevation between –12.5 to +40.5 degrees. Stabilization accuracy of 0.2 mrad. Typhoon can be remotely controlled from the deck, either independently, from the control console, or automatically, slaved to the Electro-Optical Director (EOD) system or radar. The system is equipped with an internal fire control system that calculates line of fire output based on line of sight information provided by internal or external sensors. Line-of-fire stabilization enables the crew to effectively engage targets in great precision from safe stand-off distance, and at rough sea conditions. This capability contributes an essential deterrence in coast guard and law enforcement missions, and dramatically improves crew safety in counter terrorist activities, where the patrol boats frequently become targets for suicide bombers. Typhoon guns can also be operated manually, if any of the automatic systems fail.

Typhoon G (20 mm gun mount) was selected as the standard gun mount for the Israeli Navy patrol boats, including Shaldag Mk IISuper Dvora Mk II and Mk III.

Ofeq 5 – Israel Launch New Spy Satellite

Ofeq 5, The latest satellite in the Ofeq series was launched by an IAI/MLM Shavit satellite launcher, from Palmachim missile test center on the Israeli Mediterranean coast on May 28, 2002.

Ofeq 5 is a reconnaissance satellite carrying a remote sensing payload that will enable it to perform its high-resolution observation missions for national needs. Ofeq 5 is believed to be capable of delivering both panchromatic and color images, at resolutions substantially exceeding those provided by Israeli commercial satellite services (0.8 meter).

OFEQ-5, built by IAI/MBT, belongs to the class of small and lightweight satellites. Its launch weight is about 300 kg, it has a height of 2.3 meters and 1.2 meter diameter. It is a three-axes stabilized, lightweight satellite platform, adapted for high-resolution observation, scientific, or, technological payloads. Its design is based on the proven technologies employed in the Ofeq series.

The satellite circles the Earth, from East to West, every hour and a half, at an approximate angle of inclination 143 degrees. OFEQ-5’s lightweight allows for maximum agility over target to yield rapid image acquisition. It acquires images in swaths ahead of satellite trajectory, beneath it and lateral to it.It is designed to operate at altitudes between 370 and 600 km above the surface of the Earth. Higher altitudes will prolong its mission duration in space while lower altitudes enable higher ground sampling resolutions imagery. The projected lifetime of the satellite is approximately four years.

IAI Bedek is currently developing the follow-on satellite in the Ofeq program, designated Ofeq 6. It will employ a more advanced payload, capable of all-weather operation. It is not clear yet, if the sensor will employ cloud penetration capability provided by radar or imaging, or night and limited weather penetration, enabled by thermal imaging.

Images: Ofeq 5 shown at IAI/MBT before loading into the Shavit satellite launcher. (page middle – the satellite shown in deployed comnfiguration).

Ofeq 5 specifications:

Launch weight: ~300kg
Length: 2.3 m
Diameter: 1.2 m
Orbit: 370 – 600 km
Orbit: elliptical polar
Inclination: 143 deg.

US Army To Test Smart Munitions on UAVs

The US Army is conducting flight testing of an armed version of the IAI/TRW Hunter unmanned Aerial Vehicle, as part of evaluations of an armed UAV  concept. This method of operation was already proven successful in Afghanistan, when general Atomics Predator  UAVs, operated by the CIA and the US Air Force, have fired Hellfire missiles from high altitude.

According to a recent announcement, TRW Inc. was awarded contract to test the the Brilliant Anti-Tank (BAT) Submunitions on a Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle. The company is also demonstrating the employment of IAI/MBT Lahat laser guided missile from a UAV. Hunter will be tested with a complement of two weapons, one under each wing, allowing the operator to release them on command.

Improved Brilliant Anti-Tank munitions (BAT) seen in the terminal attack phase, as it homes in to attack the top deck of a tank target. These munitions are homing on the target's acoustic, thermal and milimetric-wave radar signatures. BATs are planned for deployment in advanced ATACAM missiles. (Image: Northrop Grumman).


Sniper XR (Pantera) Targeting pod

The new targeting pod selected by the US Air Force is designated “Sniper”. It was developed by Lockheed martin, together with an export version is called “Pantera.” The design is based on a mid-1990s candidate for the US Navy advanced targeting pod system. The wedge-nosed, long-range targeting pod design features a third-generation mid-wave Flir system, diode-pumped laser operating up to 40,000 feet altitude, enhanced stabilization, a laser spot-tracker, laser marker, CCD television camera and a combat-identification capability. Its modular design has half the parts count of the company’s Lantirn targeting pod, is self-boresighting, requires two-level maintenance (flight line and depot) and can be disassembled quickly with common hand tools.

Slightly shorter than its Lantirn predecessor, the 440lb Sniper pod has a 30cm diameter. The pod’s wedge-shaped nose is made of highly durable sapphire which is transparent to visible and infrared wavelengths, and presents extreme durability to impact and damage. The unique design gives Sniper a semi-low-observable characteristic, but also makes it compatible with fighters carrying the system on an engine inlet. At supersonic speeds, an oblique shock surface forming on the pod reduces disturbances in air entering the inlet.

Some of these modules are repackaged in a targeting system designed for the Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter. To preserve stealth characteristics, the system is carried internally, with a window beneath the fighter’s nose.

Photo on this page: Ground crew at Edwards Air Force base is preparing a Lockheed Martin Sniper XR targeting pod for test flight. Testing of the pod is scheduled to continue through 2002.(US Air Force photo by Tom Reynolds).

Sniper XR Specifications
Length:239 cm
Diameter:300 mm
Total weight:440 lb
Operational altitude:+40,000
Sensor:640×480 FPA
Daylight sensor:CCDTV
Wide Field of view:4×4
Narrow field of view:1×1
Field of regard:+35 / -155
Laser:Diode pumped laser designator:

Litening Targeting Pod

RAFALE Missile Division

LITENING incorporates in a single pod all the targeting features required by a modern strike fighter. The LITENING program, launched by Israel’s Research and Development authority RAFAEL in 1992, combines multiple sensors for maximum flexibility in a single pod at low cost. The original pod included a 1st Generation FLIR, a TV camera, a flash-lamp powered laser designator, laser spot tracker for tracking target designated by other aircraft or from the ground, and an electro-optical point and inertial tracker, which enabled continuous engagement of the target even when the target is partly obscured by clouds or countermeasures.

Above: An Israel Air Force/Lockheed Martin F-16D equipped with a Rafael Litening I targeting pod. The IAF plans to procure the more advanced version of Litening III for its F-16C/D/I and F-15Is, in addition to the versions currently deployed. Below: Litening II breakdown view.

This integrated array enabled the pilot to effectively detect, recognize, identify, track and engage ground targets in day, night and under adverse weather conditions. With the pod’s systems they can designate such targets by laser, for attack by other aircraft or by precision guided weapons carried on board. The pod integrates the necessary laser rangefinder and designator, required for the delivery of Laser Guided Bombs, cluster and general purpose bombs. Laser spot detection is utilized in cooperative missions, for rapid orientation, detection and recognition of targets, marked by other forces. Identification of aerial targets from BVR ranges is also provided with the INS assisted gimbaled sensors, as the sensors can continuously point to the target’s direction, irrelevant to the aircraft position, or interference of clouds or obscurants. This combination also enables employment of the sensors in “point of interest” mode, where LITENING enables free maneuvering during and after the attack path, while maintaining the target clearly visible and marked for precision attack. The same sensors can provide imagery for night navigation as well as hit verification and battle damage assessment after the attack.

Below: Litening II+ pod fitted to an Air National Guard F-16 aircraft.

The evolution of the Litening pod continued with the Litening III version, which utilized a more capable Gen III (3-5micron) FLIR, with a 640×480 digital detectors array. This system is also equipped with a target marker, which improves the coordination of ground and air forces, by designation of targets by day or night. Litening III system is also equipped with a dual-wavelength diode-pumped laser, which is compatible with training (eyesafe) and wartime operational modes. The system also employs electronic image stabilization, to provide cleaner images of targets, acquired at long standoff range.

Logistically, the integration of the pod is easy and straightforward; it can fit the centerline or E/O pod mounts available with most modern aircraft and require no structural changes in the aircraft. Pods can also be installed on different aircraft, in support of specific missions. For example, the US Reserves currently field eight pods per wing. The pod requires minimal maintenance and technical support on the flight line. It is self boresighting in flight, therefore requires no alignment prior to the mission and improved accuracy during operations.

The Israeli targeting pod was procured by14 air forces, including the US Air Force Reserve’s and Air National Guards for their F-16 Block 25/30/32 Fighting Falcon. Other air forces operating the system include the US Marine Corps (AV-8B), Israeli air Force (F-16), Spanish and Italian Navy (AV-8B) and Spanish air force (F/A-18), German Air Force (Tornado IDS), and the Venezuela (F-16A/B). The pods were also selected for South Africa’s Grippens, India’s Mirage 2000, MiG-27 and Jaguar. The most recent inquiry for the pods came in March, for a planned procurement of F-16s by Austria. The pod is also fully integrated in the Eurofighter, F-5E, MiG-21 and other types. Testing are underway to integrate the pod with Boeing F-15I operated by the Israel Air Force.

Litening III Specifications:

Length:220 cm
Diameter:406 mm
Total weight:440 lb
Operational altitude:+40,000
IR Sensor:640×480 FPA Mid-IR wavelength
Daylight sensor:CCDTV
Wide FOV:18.4 x 24.1
medium FOV:3.5×3.5
Narrow field of view:1×1
Field of regard:+45 / -150
Roll:+/- 400
Laser:Diode pumped laser designator, dual wavelength
Laser spot tracker
IR target marker

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