“The Litening members-only exclusive club”

The fact that there is a “users club” for the Rafael Litening targeting pod tells a tale.

Air forces needed a very advanced targeting pod, and the capabilities in the market were not enough.

The development of the Litening was made as in many other cases – in close co-operation with the Israeli air force. The operational experience of Israeli pilots resulted in a system that is one of Rafael’s unrivaled bestsellers.

Not all the clients want to be exposed, but the unclassified list is also very impressive. It includes Australia, Brazil, Chile, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, the UK, US and Venezuela.

Sources claim the full list has 26 customers – and that they have accumulated more than 1.5 million flight hours up to now.

The Litening is continuing to develop. Only recently Rafael‫  ‬has confirmed it is in the advanced stages of developing the fifth generation of the targeting pod.

The new version is being developed with features that will facilitate its installation on large unmanned air systems (UAS), like the Israel Aerospace Industries Heron TP.

Rafael has so far sold well over 1,000 Litening pods to customers around the world. According to an updated Rafael forecast, the demand for its Litening targeting pod in the next 5-7 years will amount to at least 500 systems.

The Litening is currently being evaluated by operators of the Eurofighter and Grippen fighter, and by the Indian air force for its new fighters.

The firm has also teamed up with Northrop Grumman to market the Litening in the US market.

The current model – the Litening G4 – includes a full digital 1024×1024 pixel forward-looking infrared sensor and an improved TV sensor for daytime imaging.

The G4 has been equipped with a datalink system that enables it to receive a variety of data inputs from multiple sources, without further modifications to the pod or aircraft.

Rafael sources said the increasing demand for the Litening stems from the operational need to gain a “persistent look” on the ground.

The sources were only willing to say that the new version will have better range and resolution. “It will also be capable of producing more useful data from each image”, one source added.

The members of the Litening “users club” will continue to meet to share useful operational experience.

Rafael will likely have to use one of its bigger meeting rooms to accommodate the members.

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