RAFAEL to equip Leonardo’s aircraft with fifth generation systems

7 May 2020 (Last Updated May 7th, 2020 17:00)

RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems will equip Leonardo’s M-346FA light combat aircraft with its fifth-generation Litening-5 and RecceLite systems.

RAFAEL to equip Leonardo’s aircraft with fifth generation systems
RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems will equip Leonardo’s M-346FA light combat aircraft with its 5th generation Litening-5 and RecceLite systems.  Credit:  Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.

RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems will equip Leonardo’s M-346FA light combat aircraft with its fifth-generation Litening-5 and RecceLite systems.

This is the first integration of fifth-generation EO pods to Leonardo’s M-346FA platform.

Multi-role combat variant of the aircraft is an advanced jet trainer. It has been designed for a wide range of training capabilities, long-term reliability and cost-effective operations.

The M-346FA variant can be operated as a multi-role tactical aircraft and has the capability for air-to-surface, air-to-air and tactical reconnaissance missions.

Following the integration, the jet will now include stand-off capabilities using the multi-spectral airborne pod.

Currently, the pod is used by 27 airforces and carried over by 25 platforms worldwide.

Litening 5 provides real-time, forward-looking infrared (FLIR+SWIR) and day HD colour camera imagery. Its sensors and electro-optical / infra-red (EO/IR) design are claimed to enable reliable operation at significant stand-off ranges.

Furthermore, the system permits the operation of all kinds of air-to-surface smart weaponry, including laser-guided, GPS-guided and EO/IR imaging-guided munition.

The pods have completed over two million flight hours of operations worldwide.

Equipped with the RecceLite ISR system, the integrated aircraft can perform target search, by making use of advanced AI, automatic target recognition (ATR) at the interpretation ground station.

It also uses algorithms for detection, tracking, and sensor-to-shooter closure.

The system achieves optimal data-exploitation at the ground station in real-time due to the use of advanced ISR, image processing and AI.

Delivered to 13 customers globally, RecceLite has been integrated onto aircraft that include F-16, F-18, Jaguar, AMX, Tornado, Typhoon, Gripen, Heron TP, Reaper among others.

It is in service with the airforces in Europe, the Far East and South America.

RAFAEL Electro-optical systems directorate Guy Oren said: “This new cooperation with Leonardo opens new markets to integrate our advanced systems to additional light, cost-effective platforms, based on our vast experience and integration legacy in all domains.”