News | March 3, 2008

Northrop Grumman Completes Successful Flight Testing Of Latest Generation LITENING Targeting System

Rolling Meadows, IL — Northrop Grumman Corporation recently announced the successful flight demonstration of the company's new fourth generation LITENING all digital precision targeting system.

During the first phase of flight tests held at the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves Test Center in Tucson, Ariz., LITENING G4 demonstrated advanced targeting and surveillance capabilities unsurpassed by any other targeting pod. In addition, LITENING G4 offers warfighters a new laser illumination technology that provides increased target capability, and improved situational awareness.

"Our LITENING G4 targeting pods will provide a sizable improvement in capability for the warfighter, a capability that will identify and designate targets at distances and clarity never experienced before," said Mike Lennon, vice president of Targeting and Surveillance programs for Northrop Grumman's Defensive System Division. "LITENING's demonstrated spiral development process and ability to rapidly integrate, test and field advanced technologies ensure our warfighters will have unprecedented situational awareness, target coordination and first-pass weapon deliveries both today and, more importantly, tomorrow."

Developed under the U.S. Air Force's Laser Target Imaging Program, the laser illumination technology was first demonstrated during Bold Quest, a U.S. Joint Forces Command-sponsored military exercise in Sept. 2007 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

The LITENING G4's advanced 1,024 x 1,024 pixel Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) system provides significant enhancements in terms of both recognition range and image quality, which allows operators more time to identify and track targets, as compared to the "512" FLIRs currently fielded. Moreover, the targeting pod's enhanced color symbology, designed to support a new generation of aircraft color displays, provides a more viewer-friendly format that eases operator understanding of display information.

Northrop Grumman's widely fielded LITENING AT (advanced technology) system is a self-contained, multi-sensor weapon-aiming system that enables aircrews to detect, acquire, auto-track and identify targets for highly accurate delivery of both conventional and precision-guided weapons. LITENING AT features advanced image processing for target identification; coordinate generation for GPS weapons; a 1,024 x 1,024 pixel charge-coupled device television sensor; a laser spot tracker; and an infrared laser marker. LITENING G4, planned for delivery to U.S. forces this year, will add the most advanced 1,024 x 1,024 pixels FLIR sensor for improved target detection and recognition ranges under day and night conditions; new sensors for improved target identification; and other advanced target recognition and identification features.

To date, almost 500 LITENING AT pods have been ordered by U.S. forces and allied nations and more than 450 systems have been fielded, the largest number of any advanced targeting and sensor system. LITENING AT is combat proven on AV-8B, A-10A/A+/C, B-52H, F-15E, F-16 blocks 15M-52, EA-6B and F/A-18 aircraft. Together, all variants of the LITENING pod have amassed more than 800,000 flight hours, approximately half of which have been logged under deployed and combat conditions. LITENING recently set a world record for targeting pod availability by providing 95 percent availability consecutively for over two years. The LITENING targeting system is currently deployed with the Air Force's Air Combat and Air Force Reserve Commands, U.S. Air National Guard and the U.S. Marine Corps, as well as allied users.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $32 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

SOURCE: Northrop Grumman Corporation

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