Fighters aren't just fighters anymore.

Tactical aircraft are now functioning as fighters and bombers; and providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, close-air support, electronic warfare and communications capabilities.. Multi-mission is the name of the game and it calls for a new era of sensor flexibility.

"We live in an era of rapid change, where software and electronics are expected to perform multiple functions," says Rob Fleming, vice president of programs at Northrop Grumman. "Every smartphone user understands the benefits of multi-mission systems. We have applied that same thinking to OpenPod™."

Until now, maintaining readiness for multiple missions required difficult compromises and a mix of single-mission systems. Reconfiguring an aircraft for a new mission set was no simple matter – and not something that could be done easily in the field.

With Northrop Grumman's OpenPod™, a multi-mission, open architecture pod system, maintainers can do something that was never possible before: Reconfigure a sensor pod to suit mission requirements. It takes just minutes and uses existing LITENING Advanced Targeting Pod  tooling and procedures.

Reconfiguring OpenPod™ is as simple as swapping line replaceable units and attaching a new front end. In minutes, maintainers can have an aircraft ready for a new mission. An air-to-air mission to clear the skies may call for infrared search-and-track, while a subsequent air-to-ground mission may require a suite of advanced targeting sensors. With OpenPod™, the aircraft may be ready for its next mission even before the crew can finish another energy drink.

OpenPod™ IRST: A sensor pod for the smartphone era