Air Weapons: Better Litening Strikes


April 19, 2006: An upgrade has been completed on 189 older U.S. Litening targeting pods. These are used AV-8B (Harrier), A-10, B-52, F-15E, F-16 and F-18 aircraft. Similar pods were first used during the 1991 Gulf War, with great success. The Israeli made Litening appeared in 1992, and thereafter set the standard for what a targeting pod could do. The latest models of Litening give the pilot a night vision computer display of what's on the ground, even when the aircraft is flying at 20,000 feet. The pod has a leaser designator, which enables the pilot to find and designate targets for its laser guided smart bombs. These pods have been so good at spotting things on the ground, that the infantry call on Litening equipped warplanes to do aerial reconnaissance for them, and then drop smart bombs as needed. The pilots are eager to oblige, as this sort of cooperation is unique, and highly effective. Used on the A-10 has been particularly effective, as this armored aircraft can fly lower and slower, and see what's on the ground in even greater detail.


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