Rafael’s Litening targeting pod 311.
(photo credit: US Government)
While Israel is not actively participating in NATO military operations against Libya, technology developed by Israeli defense giant Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is assisting the Western military alliance in launching accurate missile strikes against the embattled Col. Muammar Gaddafi.
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The British and Swedish air forces have been using Rafael’s Litening targeting pod on their Typhoon and Grippen fighter jets, which is fitted under the fuselage of an aircraft, and provides air crews with precision strike capabilities.
The Israel Air Force uses the Litening on its F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, and the pod has been credited with improving the force’s level of accuracy in recent years.
Last October, government-owned RADS announced that it sold its 1,000th targeting pod. The pod is used by more than 20 countries, and is also manufactured in the US by Northrop Grumman.
The pod integrates a high-resolution infrared sensor that displays images of a target for the pilot and navigator, as well as a CCD camera. The pod also comes equipped with a laser designator for precise delivery of laser-guided bombs.
In an interview in British Forces News last month, a Royal Air Force pilot described a bombing he carried out aboard a Typhoon equipped with the Litening. His target was a group of about 15 Libyan military tanks.
“To be honest, I was a little bit nervous – but you just revert to the training you’ve done before. I’ve dropped a significant number of weapons from the Typhoon in training,” the pilot told British Forces News.
“It felt no different from that – only this time I was even more relieved to see the bomb go exactly where it should have done, in the Litening III image displayed in my cockpit.”
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