The US Air Force's Air Combat Command (ACC) is to evaluate the Rafael Litening targeting and navigation system as part of its planned procurement of up to 500 night attack systems to replace the two-pod Lockheed Martin Lantirn.
The US Air National Guard (ANG) and Reserve command have already selected Litening to equip their Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter bombers.
Northrop Grumman, teamed with Rafael in the North American market, is also proposing Litening to the US Marines to equip McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harriers and to the US ANG for its Fairchild O/A-10 Thunderbolts.
Litening combines forward-looking infrared and television imagery, enabling pilots to detect and identify ground targets at low level, at night, in adverse weather.
The system can also be used to designate targets with a laser to enable precision guided weapons to be employed.
The single pod system weighs 200kg (440lb) and can be flown at up to Mach 1.2 at low level, including high g manoeuvres. Litening is being evaluated by Brazil, Chile, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand.
Germany's Zeiss has a teaming agreement with Rafael on the Litening and is offering the pod for the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Source: Flight International