ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., 12 August 2005. Northrop Grumman Corp. has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Marine Corps to begin outfitting their F/A-18 Hornet aircraft with LITENING AT pods and pylons.
LITENING AT is a self-contained, multisensor laser target-designating and navigation system and the pods are equipped with the new data link "plug-and-play" technology that enables them to accept a variety of data links without any modification to the pod or aircraft.
The $40 million contract calls for the delivery of 24 pods and associated mounting pylons and spares beginning immediately and continuing through early 2006.
The LITENING AT pods being supplied to the Marine Corps will be "left handed," or designed to be installed on pylon station four, the same location that the current pods are installed on F/A-18C/Ds.
"The Marine Hornets have been flying in combat operations for the past year with LITENING AT pods borrowed from AV-8B squadrons, but now they will have their own dedicated pods specifically designed for station four employment," said Mike Lennon, vice president of targeting and surveillance programs at Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division.
"We're excited about LITENING AT becoming the program of choice for the Corps' expeditionary F/A-18s. The Marines opted to buy LITENING AT because it is best suited to their mission and is readily available. Our system will provide the Hornet with a much-needed advanced targeting and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability that will ensure that Marines aviation stays on the cutting edge of sensor technology."
Over the last decade, Northrop Grumman has pioneered such advanced targeting technologies as precisely aligned and stable multiple sensors; coordinated air-to-ground and air-to-air operations capabilities through laser spot search and track and laser markers; J-series weapons employment capabilities; and data links for battlefield situational awareness. Also, LITENING AT's innovative modular design provides true two-level maintenance and unsurpassed operational availability.
To date, a total of 360 LITENING AT pods have been ordered by U.S. forces and foreign military services. LITENING AT and its predecessors, LITENING II and LITENING ER, are currently operational on AV-8Bs flown by the Marine Corps and the Italian and Spanish navies, as well as on A-10s, B-52s, F-15Es and F-16s flown by active-duty and reserve components of the U.S. Air Force. Together, all variants of the LITENING AT pod have amassed approximately 350,000 flight hours, with more than 125,000 of these hours posted in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
LITENING AT is a self-contained, multisensor laser target-designating and navigation system that enables aircrews to detect, acquire, track and identify ground targets for highly accurate delivery of both conventional and precision-guided weapons. LITENING AT features advanced image processing for target identification and coordinate generation; a 640 x 512 pixel forward-looking infrared sensor; charge-coupled device television sensors; a laser spot tracker; an infrared laser marker; an infrared laser designator/range finder; and a data link transmitter.
Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division is a component of Northrop Grumman's Baltimore-based Electronic Systems sector-a world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of defense and commercial electronic systems, including airborne radar, navigation systems, electronic countermeasures, precision weapons, airspace management systems, communications systems, space sensors, marine and naval systems, government systems and logistic services. For more information, see www.northropgrumman.com.