Northrop Grumman has been awarded two low rate initial production contract modifications for the supply of its additional Laser Infrared Targeting and Navigating (LITENING) SE advanced targeting pods as part of the US Air Force (USAF) advanced targeting pod – sensor enhancement (ATP-SE) programme.

The combined $66m contracts, awarded under the original, seven-year indefinite-delivery / indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract vehicle, follow a $25m contract secured by the company in October 2010 for the supply of 250 pods plus spares, training and logistics support.

The LITENING SE is a pylon-mounted targeting pod designed to provide aircrew with infrared and visible imagery of both ground and airborne targets.

The pod is equipped with a plug-and-play (PnP) III digital two-way and data link Line Replacable Unit (LRU) and offers the latest advancements in sensor, laser imaging and data link technology.

Based on Northrop’s G4 production targeting pod configuration, LITENING SE features technologies such as full 1Kx1K Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) sensor, 1Kx1K charge-coupled device and short wave infrared sensors, colour symbols, tracker improvement, enhanced zoom, and two-way multi-band data link.

The pod provides laser ranging and designation in support of weapon delivery, navigational functions, and recording and data-linking of generated imagery and data, which will enable greater stand-off ranges and increase target identification.

The pods have been extensively flight tested on the USAF F-16 Block 40/50 aircraft and Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve F-16 Blocks 25/30/32, and A-10C Thunderbolt aircraft.

Northrop Grumman is expected to receive $920m of the entire $2.3bn award for the purchase of 670 pods until 2017 if the government exercises all options under the IDIQ contract.