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PoAF F-16s to be fitted with LITENING AT system

August 1, 2008 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The Portuguese Air Force (PoAF) announced the selection of the Northrop Grumman LITENING Advanced Targeting system for their F-16 Advanced Targeting Pod upgrade program.

PoAF F-16AM #15133 from Esq 301 parked on the flightline at Orland AB during the FWIT in November of 2004. [Photo by Saj. Espadinha]

Under the terms of the contract, Northrop Grumman will deliver 12 targeting pods and spares to the Portuguese Air Force beginning this year, with final deliveries in 2009.

Portugal's Air Force is the fifth European air force to procure LITENING targeting pods.

To date, over 550 LITENING targeting pods have been ordered by the United States Air Force and allied nations. More than 470 of the systems have been fielded, the largest number of any advanced targeting and sensor system. LITENING is combat proven on the AV-8B, A-10, B-52, F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft.

Together, all variants of the LITENING AT pod have amassed over 865,000 flight hours, with more than 410,000 of these hours posted in combat arenas. Moreover, LITENING is the pod of choice for the F-16 platform and has been integrated on F-16 Blocks 15, 25, 30/32, 40/42, and 50/52, amassing more than 420,000 cumulative flight hours.

With this contract award, the Portuguese Air Force joins the United States Air Force, United States Marine Corp, Royal Netherlands Air Force, Finnish Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Spanish Navy and Italian Navy expanding LITENING AT operational use by coalition forces.

Northrop Grumman's LITENING AT system is a self-contained, multi-sensor weapon aiming system that enables fighter pilots to detect, acquire, auto-track and identify targets for highly accurate delivery of both conventional and precision-guided weapons.

The system features advanced image processing for target identification; coordinate generation for GPS weapons; a 640 x 512 pixel forward-looking infrared sensor for effective day and night operations; a new 1,024 x 1,024 pixel charge-coupled device (1k CCD) television sensor; a new dual waveband infrared laser designator and range finder; a laser spot tracker; an infrared laser marker; and an optional air-to-ground data link and digital video recorder.