LITENING targeting pod

LITENING targeting pod

The LITENING targeting pod is a precision targeting pod system currently operational with a wide variety of combat aircraft. LITENING significantly increases the combat effectiveness of the aircraft during day, night and under-the-weather conditions in the attack of ground targets with a variety of standoff weapons (i.e., laser guided bombs, conventional bombs and GPS-guided weapons).


LITENING is a targeting pod integrated and mounted externally to the aircraft. The targeting pod contains a high-resolution, forward-looking infrared sensor (FLIR) that displays an infrared image of the target to the aircrew; it has a wide field of view search capability and a narrow field of view acquisition/targeting capability of battlefield-sized targets. The pod also contains a charged coupled device (CCD-TV) camera used to obtain target imagery in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. An on-gimbal inertial navigation sensor has established line-of-sight and automatic boresighting capability.

The pod is equipped with a laser designator for precise delivery of laser-guided munitions, a laser rangefinder provides information for various avionics systems, for example, navigation updates, weapon deliveries and target updates. The targeting pod includes an automatic target tracker to provide fully automatic stabilized target tracking at altitudes, airspeeds and slant ranges consistent with tactical weapon delivery maneuvers. These features simplify the functions of target detection and recognition, and permit attack of targets with precision-guided weapons on a single pass.


The research and development program began at Rafael Corporation's Missiles Division in Haifa, Israel, with subsequent completion of LITENING I for use in the Israeli Air Force. In 1995 Northrop Grumman Corporation's teamed with Rafael for further development and sales of the LITENING pod.


Northrop Grumman Corporation completed product improvements on the "Basic Pod" including a third generation FLIR, laser marker and software upgrades (LITENING II) which was fielded beginning in 1999.

Northrop Grumman subsequently replaced the "320x256" FLIR with a latest technology "640x512" FLIR. This pod, known as LITENING ER, extended the target detection range and was fielded in 2001. The newest version, LITENING AT, is in production and was fielded in 2003. It further extends target detection and recognition ranges, improves the target coordinate generation accuracy, and provides multi-target cueing. [U.S. Air Force [ LITENING II/ER/AT] ]

General characteristics

:Primary function: Navigation and infrared/electro-optical targeting:Prime Contractor: Rafael Corporation/Northrop Grumman:Length: 87 in (2.20 m):Diameter: 16 in (0.406 m):Weight: 440 lb (200 kg):Aircraft: A-10, B-52H, F-14A/B/D, F-15E/D, AV-8B, F-18, F-16 Block 25/30/40/50, F-4E AUP:Sensors: Infrared detector, CCD-TV camera, laser rangefinder and laser designator:Date Deployed: February 2000:Unit Cost: $1.4 million:Competitive Device: Lockheed Martin Sniper XR targeting pod


Brazilian Air Force


Chilean Air Force


Finnish Air Force




Turkish Air Force

*F-16 - Night Falcon
*F-16 - Fighting Falcon
*F-4E 2020 - Terminator


*AV-8B+ Harrier
*F/A-18 Hornet
*S-3B Viking
*EA-6B Prowler

Israeli Air Force



Litening II Pods supplied by Rafael/Zeiss Optronik joint venture
*Panavia Tornado

Litening III pods to be used on the Eurofighter aircraft.

Indian Air Force

*Mirage 2000
*Light Combat Aircraft

Italian Navy

*AV-8B+ Harrier

Hellenic Air Force


Hungarian Air Force


Portuguese Air Force

*F-16 [Northrop Grumman to Upgrade Portuguese Air Force F-16s With LITENING AT:]

Romanian Air Force

*MiG-21 LanceR A

Royal Air Force

Litening III RD & EF pods supplied by Ultra Electronics Limited
*Tornado GR4
*Eurofighter Typhoon.

Royal Netherlands Air Force


Spanish Air Force/Navy

*AV-8B+ Harrier
*EF-18 Hornet
*Eurofighter Typhoon.

South African Air Force

*JAS 39 Gripen.

Comparable Systems



This article contains information that originally came from a U.S. Government website, in the public domain.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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