ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., March 4, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- The U.S. Marine Corps' fleet of F/A-18D Hornet aircraft is nearing 10,000 combat flight hours with LITENING AT targeting and navigation systems produced by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC).
Following the successful integration and flight-testing of LITENING AT on the F/A-18D by a U.S. Marine Corps-U.S. Navy-Northrop Grumman team last summer, the Marines quickly began fielding LITENING ATs on their F/A-18s to support troops in Iraq. Since then, LITENING AT-equipped Hornets having been flying daily close-air support and other combat missions.
LITENING AT is a self-contained, multi-sensor laser target-designating and navigation system that enables fighter pilots to detect, acquire, track and identify ground targets for highly accurate delivery of both conventional and precision-guided weapons. The system features advanced image processing for target identification and coordinate generation; a 640 x 512 pixel forward-looking infrared sensor; charge-coupled device television sensors; a laser spot tracker; an infrared laser marker; an infrared laser designator/range finder; and air-to-ground data links.
"Experience with LITENING-equipped AV-8Bs during Operation Iraqi Freedom convinced the Corps of the need to quickly enhance the precision attack capabilities of its Hornets," said Mike Lennon, vice president, targeting and surveillance programs, Northrop Grumman Defensive Systems. "Marine F/A-18Ds now employ LITENING's combat-proven features such as target location and identification during the day or night, laser spot search and track, laser marker and data links for coordinated operations with ground forces and precision target coordinate generation."
In a fiscal year 2005 House Appropriations Committee report, the U.S. Congress directed the Marine Corps to fully fund the acquisition, integration and installation of the LITENING AT requirement of 60 pods for 72 F/A-18D aircraft. Since then, the Marines have stated their intention to equip all of the Corps' expeditionary tactical aircraft (Harriers and Hornets) with LITENING AT.
To date, more than 300 LITENING AT pods have been delivered to U.S. forces and to numerous foreign military services. LITENING AT and its predecessors, LITENING II and LITENING ER, are also currently operational on AV-8Bs flown by the Marine Corps and the Italian and Spanish navies, as well as on A-10s, B-52s, F-15Es and F-16s flown by active duty and reserve components of the U.S. Air Force. Together, all variants of the LITENING AT pod have amassed approximately 300,000 flight hours, with more than 75,000 of these hours posted in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems division is a component of Northrop Grumman's Baltimore-based Electronic Systems sector - a world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of defense and commercial electronic systems, including airborne radar, navigation systems, electronic countermeasures, precision weapons, airspace management systems, communications systems, space sensors, marine and naval systems, government systems and logistic services.
CONTACT: Katie Lamb Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems (847) 259-9600, ext. 3542