SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Lt. Col. Phil Guy prepares to take off in an F-16 Fighting Falcon. The aircraft is loaded with two AIM-9 missiles and CBU-12 bombs with a Litening II targeting pod to get the precision-guided munitions to the intended target. Guy is assigned to the 149th Fighter Squadron at Richmond, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- A-10 Thunderbolt IIs fly over the desert with LITENING, a precision targeting pod system. The pod, externally mounted to the aircraft, is equipped with a laser designator for precise delivery of laser-guided munitions and a laser rangefinder that provides information for various avionics systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark Bucher)
LITENING Advanced Targeting, or AT, is a precision targeting pod system operational with a wide variety of combat air forces aircraft (A-10A/C, B-52H, F-15E and F-16 Blocks 25-52) as well as aircraft operated by other services and allies (AV-8B, EA-6B, F-16 Block 15 and F/A-18). The system's advanced targeting and image processing techology significantly increases the combat effectiveness of the aircraft during day, night and under-the-weather conditions in the attack of ground targets with a variety of standoff weapons (i.e., laser-guided bombs, conventional bombs and GPS-guided weapons).
Mounted externally, LITENING AT is a targeting pod integrated with the aircraft. The targeting pod contains a high-resolution, mid-wave third generation, forward-looking infrared sensor, or FLIR, that displays an infrared image of the target to the aircrew. It has a wide field of view search capability and a narrow field of view acquisition/targeting capability of battlefield-sized targets. The pod contains a charged coupled device or CCD-TV, camera used to obtain target imagery in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. An on-gimbal inertial navigation sensor has established line-of-sight and automatic boresighting capability.
The system incorporates a mult-spectral capability with a high resolution, mid-wave, third-generation FLIR and CCD-TV. The pod is equipped with a laser designator for precise delivery of laser-guided munitions and a laser rangefinder for precise target coordinates. For target coordination with ground and air forces, a laser spot tracker, a laser marker, and a fully operational remotely operated video enhanced receiver, or ROVER, compatible video down link improves rapid target detection/ identification.
For ease of maintenance, LITENING AT's modularity, optimal hardware partitioning, and diagnostic capabilities permit true two-level maintenance, eliminating intermediate-level support. Automated built-in test permits a flightline maintainer to isolate and replace a line replaceable unit, or LRU, in under 20 minutes to get the pod back up to full mission capable status. Spares are ordered through a user-friendly website offering in-transit visibility to parts shipment.
LITENING I was developed for the Israeli air force at Rafael Corporation's Missiles Division in Haifa, Israel. In 1995 Northrop Grumman Corporation's teamed with the company for further development.
LITENING II was initially fielded with Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command F-16s in 1999 and employed a "256" FLIR. This was subsequently enhanced to the LITENING Enhanced Range, or ER, configuration by the incorporation of a third-generation "512" FLIR. Subsequent image processing enhancements led to the AT configuration that is now the standard for U.S. forces which began fielding in 2003.
Primary function: Infrared/electro-optical targeting; non-traditional intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance Prime Contractor: Northrop Grumman Corporation Length: 87 inches (2.20 meters) Diameter: 16 inches (0.406 meters) Weight: 440 pounds (200 kilograms) Aircraft: A-10A/A+/C, B-52H, F-15E, F-16 Block 25/30/32/40/42/50/52 Sensors: Infrared detector, CCD-TV camera, laser rangefinder and laser designator Date Deployed: February 2000 Unit Cost: $1.4 million