Arie Egozi/TEL AVIV
The US Air National Guard (ANG) and Reserve Command have selected Israel's Rafael Litening targeting and navigation pod for their Lockheed Martin F-16s, in an order potentially worth more than $300 million.
Rafael and US partner Northrop Grumman will supply the systems early in 1999. The initial order is for eight pods, worth $18 million, but follow-on options cover another 160 systems. The Litening beat Lockheed Martin's Lantirn system.
Northrop Grumman signed as Rafael's partner in September 1995 to market the Litening, offering it to the ANG as a precision attack targeting system. The US group is also offering the pod to the US Marine Corps for the Boeing AV-8B and to the ANG for the Fairchild O/A-10.
The Litening has already been selected by the air forces of Germany, India, Israel and Venezuela and one other undisclosed customer, with evaluations taking place in Brazil, Chile, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand. Some of these potential clients are known to have test flown the system in Israel. Rafael has teaming agreements with Zeiss in Germany and Sagem in France to market the Litening to further potential customers.
The Litening is an infrared navigation, laser designation and targeting pod which allows low level night/adverse weather flight, and detection and identification of ground targets.
Source: Flight International