The fourth-generation of Northrop Grumman’s Litening advanced targeting pod has completed one million flight hours.

Fielded in 2012, the targeting pod helps safeguard land forces during surveillance and strike missions.

Litening is in service with all components of the US Air Force and the US Marine Corps. The company has also delivered the pod to several international customers.

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems land and avionics C4ISR programmes vice-president Brent Toland said: “Every one of these million hours was time spent in support of our warfighters, with many under actual combat conditions.

“This connection to the mission is what drives us to continually improve the capability of Litening, from its first generation in 1999 to today’s fourth generation and beyond.”

“These features support targeting, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and humanitarian relief missions.”

The company’s targeting pods have been so far integrated on different aircraft, including the AV-8B, A-10, B-52, C-130, F-15, F-16 and F/A-18.

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All generations of the advanced targeting pod, including II, ER, AT and the fourth generation pods, have achieved combined flight hours of nearly three million.

Litening comprises several features, including high-definition video, 1K FLIR and CCD sensors, laser imaging sensors and multiple plug-and-play data link options to help troops identify and track targets at long ranges.

These features support targeting, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and humanitarian relief missions.

The modular design allows any Litening pod to be upgraded to the latest configuration.

Last month, the US Air Force awarded a $1.3bn indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contract to Northrop Grumman to produce, sustain and deliver upgrades to its Litening advanced targeting pod.