ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., Feb. 26, 2003 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Defensive Systems Division has successfully completed an initial flight demonstration of the LITENING Extended Range (ER) precision targeting system with a U.S. Navy F/A-18D aircraft at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Lexington Park, Md.
Northrop Grumman worked with a Navy test team and its teammate RAFAEL Missile Division to conduct this initial demonstration. This combined government-industry team built on mounting provisions currently employed for the Spanish Air Force EF-18, and also modified the LITENING ER targeting system's interface to be compatible with existing aircraft interfaces. These pod software changes were first tested in the F/A-18 system integration lab at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, Calif., followed by on-aircraft ground checks at the Patuxent River NAS facility prior to the actual flight demonstration.
During the January demonstration flights, LITENING ER successfully tracked targets on the test range using both charge-coupled device television (CCD-TV) and forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensors. Additionally, the LITENING ER laser designator was used to simulate deployment of precision munitions from extended ranges.
"LITENING ER provides our forces and those of our allies with combat-proven capabilities, including day and night tracking of both surface and airborne targets, IR marking of targets for ground troops, and two-level maintenance on the flight line," said Mike Lennon, vice president of Targeting and Surveillance Programs at Northrop Grumman. "This demonstration allowed the Navy and Marine Corps to see LITENING's potential onboard the F/A-18. We are now working with their technical community to assess how we might accomplish the integration should there be a need for a quick reaction enhancement of the Hornet's combat capabilities."
The Northrop Grumman LITENING ER 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. LITENING ER features include a 640 x 512 pixel FLIR camera; CCD-TV cameras; laser spot tracker/range finder; infrared (IR) marker; and an IR laser designator. LITENING ER pods are currently fielded with Air National Guard (ANG) F-16s and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) AV-8Bs. LITENING ER's predecessor, the LITENING II system with a 256 FLIR, is also operational on ANG/Air Force Reserve Command F-16s, and on AV-8Bs operated by the USMC, and the Italian and Spanish navies.
Based in Rolling Meadows, Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division designs, develops and manufactures radio frequency and electro-optic/infrared products that protect military aircraft, ships, satellites and ground vehicles from attack by modern weapons; provide military aircraft with 24-hour targeting and navigation capabilities; ensure high-value, complex, electronic and electro-optical weapons systems are mission ready; and evaluate defense electronic performance in complex environments.
The division is a component of Northrop Grumman's Baltimore, Md.-based Electronic Systems sector, a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of defense and commercial electronic systems including airborne radar systems, navigation systems, electronic warfare systems, precision weapons, airspace management systems, air defense systems, communications systems, space systems, marine systems, oceanic and naval systems, logistics systems, and government systems.
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