Northrop Grumman has received a contract extension from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to deliver logistics support for its F/A-18 Hornet Target Designation Systems that use the AN/AAQ-28(V) Litening pod.
Representing the second four-year extension of the agreement, the latest extension will allow Northrop continue to offer in-service support for the RAAF’s Litening targeting pods and data links at RAAF Base Williamtown and RAAF Base Tindal.
Northrop Grumman Australia chief executive Ian Irving said: "This extension strengthens the Northrop Grumman-RAAF partnership and our company’s long-term commitment to the Commonwealth.
"In addition to the support award, several enhancements have recently been authorised for the Hornet Target Designation System to improve tactical effectiveness.
These may reduce costs by aligning the RAAF’s pod configuration with that of US forces."
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 (ISR) missions.
Delivering the latest advancements in sensor, laser imaging and data link technology, the 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.
To date, Northrop Grumman has delivered more than 700 Litening pods to customers’ worldwide, logging more than two million operating hours so far.
Recently, Northrop received a $3.2bn from the US Department of Defence to support all the US Air Force (USAF) variants of the Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft.
Under this contract, the company will be responsible to continue development, modernisation, retrofit, and sustainment activities for the aircraft.
Image: The RAAF’s F/A-18 Hornet Target Designation Systems that use the AN/AAQ-28(V) Litening pod. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corporation.