Northrop Grumman has received a $1.3bn Litening advanced targeting pod indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract from the US Air Force (USAF).

Under the contract, the company will deliver sustainment, production, software and upgrades for the reliability of the pod.

Northrop Grumman land and avionics C4ISR vice-president Brent Toland said: “Since the first generation of the Northrop Grumman Litening pod, we have been providing this mission-critical capability with our top priority of ensuring that Litening is ready for any mission, any time.

“This initial logistics award continues our 24/7 commitment to Litening operators and maintainers.”

Northrop Grumman’s AN/AAQ-28(V) Litening pod is a self-contained, multi-sensor system that enables pilots to detect, acquire, auto-track and identify targets at extremely long ranges for weapon delivery or non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

“The company has delivered more than 800 pods to the USAF, US Air Force Reserve, US Air National Guard, the US Marine Corps and other international customers.”

Featuring a modular design and flexible upgrade path, the pod includes laser imaging sensors and multiple plug-and-play data link technology options, high-definition video, 1K forward-looking infrared and charge-coupled device sensors.

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These features enable aircrew to identify and engage targets in different battlefield conditions.

The pods have been integrated on a range of aircraft, including the AV-8B, A-10, B-52, EA-6Bs, F-15, the F-16, C-130 and the F/A-18.

The company has delivered more than 800 pods to the USAF, US Air Force Reserve, US Air National Guard, the US Marine Corps and other international customers.

The pod has flown more than two million hours, including over 800,000 combat flight hours. Litening G4 is the latest configuration that can be exported to Nato countries.