The US Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $1.3 billion upgrade and sustainment contract for its Litening advanced targeting pod.

The Litening pod is carried aboard a variety of USAF and US Marine Corps aircraft including the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II, Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules, Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle, Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon and Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Northrop Grumman Litening pod on A-10

Northrop Grumman Litening pod on A-10

Northrop Grumman

The pod features high definition video, forward-looking infrared sensors, laser imaging sensors and multiple plug-and-play data link options. Any of the older 800 pods that have been delivered and installed on aircraft can be upgraded to the latest configuration due to its modular design, says Northrop Grumman.

The Litening pod contract follows another large payload award won by Northrop Grumman on 3 January, a $3.6 billion contract from the USAF for Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure systems and support. That system helps defend aircraft by automatically detecting, tracking and jamming incoming infrared-guided missiles.