Even when you have a bestselling product, there are still markets you really want to win.
Rafael’s Litening targeting pod is a bestseller. More than 1,600 systems have been sold to 28 customers around the world – but there is one particular upcoming competition that Rafael wants very much to win.
Rafael and its US partner Northrop Grumman are in the advanced stages of developing a fifth-generation Litening pod that will be offered for the US Navy’s Boeing F-18s.
Rafael teamed up with Northrop to market the Litening in both the US and other international markets. The pod is already used by the US Air Force and Marine Corps.
The partners’ efforts are focused on offering a system that matches the US Navy’s request for information on a future targeting pod acquisition.
The contract will include 300 pods, and a demonstration is expected in 2017. A Rafael source says the RFI sets a standard far beyond that the navy’s aircraft have today. The source adds that Rafael “will demonstrate something better than anything else on the market”.
The current-model Litening G4 includes a full digital 1024×1024 pixel forward-looking infrared sensor and a TV sensor for daytime imaging.
The G4 also features a datalink that can process a variety of data input from multiple sources, without further modifications to the pod or aircraft.
Rafael says increasing demand for the Litening stems from an operational need to gain a “persistent look” on the ground.
The new version will have better range and resolution, and will also be capable of producing more useful data from each image.
Rafael already supplies the USAF and USMC – the partners want to complete the set with the USN.