The Litening AN/AAQ-28(V) targeting pod is a combat-proven multi-spectral airborne targeting pod system currently operational with a wide variety of aircraft worldwide. The research and development of the LITENING was first undertaken by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ Missiles Division in Israel, with subsequent completion of LITENING I for use in the Israeli Air Force. Litening presents pilots with real-time, Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) and TV HD color camera imagery. The high resolution sensors and the electro optical effective design enables pilots to operate the pod at standoff ranges reliably identify the targets and consequently avoid collateral damage. It is fully operational 24 hours a day and in adverse weather conditions.
The Litening Pod is an integrated targeting pod that mounts externally to the aircraft. The targeting pod contains a high-resolution, forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor that displays an infrared image of the target to the aircrew; it has a wide field of view search capability and a narrow field of view acquisition/targeting capability of battlefield-sized targets. The pod also contains a CCD camera used to obtain target imagery in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. An on-gimbal inertial navigation sensor establishes line-of-sight and automatic boresighting capability.
The pod is equipped with a laser designator for precise delivery of laser-guided munitions. A laser rangefinder provides information for various avionics systems, for example, navigation updates, weapon deliveries and target updates. The targeting pod includes an automatic target tracker to provide fully automatic stabilized target tracking at altitudes, airspeeds and slant ranges consistent with tactical weapon delivery maneuvers. These features simplify the functions of target detection and recognition, and permit attack of targets with precision-guided weapons on a single pass.LITENING significantly increases the combat effectiveness of the aircraft during day, night and under-the-weather conditions in the attack of ground and air targets with a variety of standoff weapons (i.e., laser-guided bombs, conventional bombs and GPS-guided weapons).
The Litening Pod is in operational use worldwide, over 1500 Pods have already been sold to customers around the world. The pods have logged over 1,900,000 flying hours, more than two-thirds in contingency operations around the globe, with availability over 97%. It is integrated on more than 20 platforms: F-16 blocks 15OCU, 20, 30/32, 40/42, 50, 52, 52+, F-16I, F-16MLU, F-15E, AV8B, F-18 A/B/C/D, F-4E, F-5E, A-10, B-52, Jaguar, AMX, Mirage 2000, Tornado, MiG21, MiG27, Gripen JAS 39, and Sukhoi 30. The pods are in use by more than twenty air forces-among them the USAF, ANG, AFRES, the US Marines, the RAF, RAAF, RNLAF, the Israel AF and the Swedish, German, Hellenic, Chilean, Portuguese, and Spanish Air Forces. The research and development program began at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ Missiles Division in Israel, with subsequent completion of Litening I for use in the Israeli Air Force. In 1995 Northrop Grumman Corporation teamed with Rafael for further development and sales of the Litening pod.