Northrop Grumman Corporation’s LITENING advanced targeting pod has successfully completed its first test flights on the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet. The Navy selected LITENING to replace the legacy targeting pods on the F/A-18 fleet in early 2022. During the flight, pilots executed maneuvers and operations representative of combat missions, including ground moving target tracking, air-to-air tracking and target designation. The pilots also engaged the eye-safe training laser mode that allows the pod to be used for realistic training with combat controllers on the ground. The pilots were able to carry out these operations without advance training, showing the ease of use that has been made possible by close collaboration with the aviation community.
“This first flight demonstrated LITENING’s ability to rapidly add modern, upgradeable mission capabilities to the Super Hornet. The pod’s digital video, autonomous target tracking, and laser sensors will give Naval aviators an entirely new set of capabilities for operations over land and sea today, and the growth capabilities built into LITENING’s modular design ensure that the pod can evolve to meet changing requirements,” said James Conroy, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman.
LITENING is currently in service with the Marine Corps, Air Force, Air National Guard and international customers. Northrop Grumman has delivered more than 900 LITENING pods. LITENING is an electro-optical infrared sensor system for targeting and surveillance that enables aircrews to detect, acquire, identify and track targets at long ranges. LITENING enables a wide range of missions, including precision targeting, close air support, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and humanitarian assistance. LITENING advanced targeting pods have more than three million operational hours and over one million hours in combat to their credit. For 20 years and counting, the LITENING team has delivered availability rate greater than 95%. The current generation of LITENING features daylight and FLIR sensors with digital, color video in high definition, plug-and play data links and a modular design that is ready for evolving mission requirements.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is an American multinational aerospace and defense technology company. With 90,000 employees and an annual revenue in excess of $30 billion, it is one of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers and military technology providers. The firm ranks No. 96 on the 2020 Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations. Northrop Grumman and its industry partners have won the Collier Trophy eight times, most recently for developing the X-47B, the first unmanned, autonomous air system to operate from an aircraft carrier. Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. The company pioneering solutions equip customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.