ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., June 17, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- The LITENING Extended Range (ER) precision targeting system from Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Defense Systems Division and RAFAEL has been successfully integrated onto the U.S. Air Force's F-16 Block 40 and Block 50 aircraft in record time. This quick reaction integration gives the Fighting Falcon targeting capabilities not available on other fielded systems.
Combined efforts of the U.S. Air Force and the contractor team resulted in the integration being completed in only 21 days, compared with the 90 days average established for similar integrations. After initial flight clearance tests at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., operational evaluation missions of the new combat capability for the Fighting Falcon were conducted at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. These operational missions included evaluation of laser and GPS-guided air-to-ground weapons on the Block 50. To date, only integration and functionality missions have been flown with the Block 40.
"Integration of LITENING ER with the F-16 Block 40 and Block 50 aircraft provides the Air Force with alternatives for conducting precision targeting, day and night, that are far beyond those that other targeting systems currently can provide," said Mike Lennon, vice president of targeting and surveillance programs at Northrop Grumman. "This includes laser designation from above 40,000 feet, IR marking of targets for ground troops, accurate target coordinate generation, and two-level maintenance on the flight line. The Block 50, in particular, now has a full targeting solution to support its air defense missions."
The Northrop Grumman LITENING ER is a self-contained, multisensor 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 forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera; charge-coupled device television; laser spot tracker/range finder; infrared marker; and a laser designator.
LITENING ER pods are currently fielded with Air National Guard (ANG) F-16s, U.S. Marine Corps AV-8Bs, and Air Force F-15Es. LITENING ER's predecessor, the LITENING II system with a 256 FLIR, is also operational on ANG and Air Force Reserve Command F-16s and on AV-8Bs owned and operated by the Marine Corps, Italy and Spain.
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 tactical 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 Defensive Systems Division is part 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, government systems, and logistics services.
CONTACT: Katie Lamb Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems (847) 259-9600, ext. 3542