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A-10 Fitted With Litening-ER Pod (Sept. 17)

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. --- The Litening Extended Range (ER) targeting and navigation system produced by Northrop Grumman Corporation's Electronic Systems sector has been successfully integrated and flight tested on another U.S. military platform -- the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

Litening ER is a self-contained, multisensor laser target designating and navigation system that enables fighter pilots to detect and identify ground targets for highly accurate delivery of both conventional and precision-guided weapons. LITENING ER features include a 640 x 512 pixel Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) camera; charge-coupled device television; laser spot tracker/range finder; IR marker; and a laser designator. Litening ER is currently deployed with the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and is entering the fleets of allied and naval forces.

The Litening ER-equipped A-10 made eight successful flights at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Ariz., in support of Precision Engagement Risk Reduction Operational Utility Evaluation, in late July. The integration required no changes to the aircraft's existing software. A "smart" cable connecting the pod to the aircraft allowed full functionality with only minor updates to the Litening software. Following the flights, the Litening ER-equipped A-10 immediately deployed to Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nev., where it employed laser guided weapons and participated in the Joint Experimental Force Experiment.

"This latest integration confirms the Litening ER's flexibility and compatibility with a variety of platforms," said Michael Lennon, vice president of Targeting and Surveillance Programs at Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division in Rolling Meadows, Ill. "The A-10 pilots who demonstrated the pod were enthusiastic about its capabilities, and we are confident that the Litening system will continue to serve as the precision targeting and navigation system of choice for combat aircraft the world over."

The successful demonstration makes the A-10 the third U.S. aircraft to be integrated with the Litening ER pod. Integration on the USMC's AV-8B occurred in August 2001 and the Air Force's F-16 in January of this year.

Litening ER's predecessor, the Litening II system with a 256 FLIR, is fully operational with the U.S. Air National Guard/Air Force Reserves Command F-16s, the USMC AV-8Bs, plus the air force of Spain and the Italian Navy. "It is the most capable targeting pod employed during Operations Northern Watch, Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom," added Lennon.

Headquartered in Baltimore, Md., Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of defense electronics systems including airborne radar systems, navigation systems, electronic warfare systems, precision weapons, airspace management systems, air defense systems, communications systems, space systems, marine systems, oceanic and naval systems, logistics systems, and automation and information systems.

Northrop Grumman LITENING ER Pod Integrated On A-10 Thunderbolt II