Northrop Grumman commemorates LITENING at 20: shaping the future of precision targeting
When Northrop Grumman delivered its first LITENING advanced targeting pod two decades ago, it brought unprecedented precision and situational awareness to strike, surveillance and humanitarian missions. With LITENING, pilots had a clearer picture than ever before, both day and night, and the ability to work more closely with forces on the ground to carry out precision strikes. Since that time, the pod has evolved to adapt to a changing world.
“With LITENING, we have continued to field innovative capabilities first to address the changing missions of our customers,” said Brent Toland, vice president, land and avionics C4ISR, Northrop Grumman. “One of the keys to LITENING’s continued relevance is its modular design, making capability enhancements quick and affordable.”
The modular design of LITENING has enabled rapid evolution in sensors, pilot-vehicle interfaces and processing capabilities. The original pods contained 256-pixel FLIR sensors. Today, LITENING can provide digital, high definition video at four times that resolution. From design to implementation, the digital video capability was realized in just 12 months.
LITENING is the only targeting pod in the Department of Defense inventory that provides dedicated infrared, visible and laser apertures; an active short wave infrared sensor to enhance combat identification; and high-definition digital video to the cockpit.
LITENING is in service with all components of the combat Air Force, the Marine Corps and several international customers. Through its 24/7 logistics support program, LITENING maintains an availability rate in excess of 95 percent. The pod has been integrated on a wide range of platforms, including AV-8B, A-10, B-52, C-12, C-130, F-15, F-16, F/A-18, and MQ-9.