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LITENING II Targeting Pods demonstrate successful first flights

October 4, 1999 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Flight tests of the first Northrop Grumman production LITENING II Precision Attack Targeting Systems began on Sept. 29 at Edwards Air Force Base, under the auspices of the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard.
The LITENING II targeting pod was successfully operated in 10 different scenarios aboard a U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft. The tracking capability of the targeting pod's optical and laser sensors were verified during the flight tests.

Northrop Grumman's Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector (ES3) delivered the first LITENING II targeting pods on schedule Sept. 13 to Edwards AFB base for qualification tests and evaluation. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the LITENING II system is scheduled for the first quarter of 2000.

LITENING II combines night or day targeting and navigation capabilities in a single pod and allows fighter aircraft to detect and identify ground targets for highly accurate delivery of both conventional and precision-guided weapons. LITENING II features include FLIR (forward-looking infrared), charge-couple device television, laser spot tracker/range finder sensors, laser marker and laser designator.

The system is mechanically, electronically and aerodynamically compatible with all F-16 aircraft and requires no structural modifications to be installed. The LITENING II system is additionally compatible with a wide range of U.S. military and international aircraft with minimal integration. Enhancements planned for LITENING II include combat ID, a sensor modification that will enable the pod to identify and track targets at considerably greater distances. Demonstrations of LITENING II's capabilities for the U.S. Air Force are expected to begin during the next year.