UK set to order first Litening III systems to prepare Eurofighter for multirole duties
The UK is to acquire an initial 20 Rafael Litening III targeting and navigation pods for its Eurofighter Typhoons under a deal with Ultra Electronics worth potentially £20 million ($36 million).
To provide the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon F1 fighters with the ability to detect, identify and track ground or maritime targets before self-designating them for attack using laser- or GPS-guided bombs, the 200kg (450lb) Litening III pod houses forward-looking infrared and colour TV cameras and a laser designator/rangefinder.
Israel’s Rafael Armament Development Authority will act as prime subcontractor for the deal, which covers pod production and the provision of through-life logistics support services. Ultra has not disclosed where the Litening III systems will be manufactured, although aircraft integration and flight-test activities in the UK will be overseen by NATO’s Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency.
Ultra has until 30 November to respond to a sole-source invitation to tender for the first phase of the laser targeting pod requirement, which was released by the UK Ministry of Defence on 1 September. The MoD says details of a second project phase have yet to be finalised, but that this is expected to lead to the procurement of “more of the same” systems. BAE has so far delivered 17 Typhoons to the RAF from its Tranche 1 production order for 37 F1s and 18 T1 trainers.
The RAF expects to have its Typhoons ready to undertake air-to-surface strike missions from early 2008.
Source: Flight International