Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $116m contract to modernise the US military’s AN/AAQ-28(V) Litening advanced targeting systems.
Under the contract, the company will provide upgrades and spares for Litening pods used by the US Air Force (USAF), Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and Marine Corps.
The award forms part of an existing indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity contract and will transform all of the Air Force Block I pods to the advanced G4 configuration.
Northrop Grumman airborne tactical sensors business unit vice-president Jim Mocarski said: "Making pioneering technology affordable for our customers has always been a priority for Litening and sustainability is an important part of that.
"These upgrades will significantly improve the range, resolution and identification capabilities of the pods currently flown by our customers."
The AN/AAQ-28(V) Litening pod is a self-contained, multi-sensor system designed to enable pilots to detect, acquire, auto-track and identify targets at extremely long ranges for weapon delivery or non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
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Delivering the latest advancements in sensor, laser imaging and data link technology, Litening pod includes high-definition video, 1K forward-looking infrared, charge-coupled device sensors, short wave infrared laser imaging, colour symbology, tracker improvements and enhanced zoom.
The advancements offer more precise target identification and location at longer ranges compared to previous generations of Litening pods, while reducing pilot workload.
To date, Northrop has delivered more than 700 Litening pods components to the USAF, Marine Corps and eight international customers, namely Israel, Spain, Italy, Australia, Netherlands, Portugal, Finland and Denmark.
The pods have been integrated onto eight different aircraft types, including the AV-8B, A-10A/C, B-52H, EA-6Bs, F-15E, the F-16 Block 30, F-16 Block 40/50 and the F/A-18 Hornet.
Image: A Litening targeting pod mounted on a US military’s F/A-18 Hornet aircraft. Photo: courtesy of the US Government.