ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., July 18, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) recently participated with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on the successful Risk Mitigation Test and Evaluation (RMT&E) of the company's LITENING AT advanced targeting system.
In an effort to continue modernizing its F/A-18 Hornet aircraft fleet, the RAAF has initiated the Hornet Upgrade program, a multi-phase program to enhance operational capabilities. Hornet Upgrade Phase 2.4 will replace the existing NITE Hawk Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) system with the Northrop Grumman LITENING AT system.
Northrop Grumman's LITENING AT system 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 AT features advanced image processing for target identification and coordinate generation; a third generation forward-looking infrared sensor; charge-coupled device television sensors; a laser spot tracker; an infrared laser marker; infrared laser designator/range finder; and various data links and recorders.
The RMT&E was conducted at RAAF Base Williamtown for the purpose of assessing the introduction of the LITENING AT system into service on RAAF F/A-18s. It included an evaluation of the installation and removal procedures of the actual pod and pod adapter unit (pylon) in addition to associated ground support equipment. The test and evaluation verified LITENING AT functions using the RAAF's aircraft with operational flight software program (OFP) 19C(A).
Members of the RAAF's 77 Squadron worked alongside the Northrop Grumman team to demonstrate the installation and removal of a LITENING AT from the fuselage stations of two F/A-18s. Installation and removal was repeated with a fuel tank loaded on the (adjacent) aircraft station three, representing a worst case scenario. A Northrop Grumman-supplied pod loading adapter allowed quick installation and removal of LITENING AT with existing RAAF support equipment.
The 77 Squadron also conducted on-aircraft ground functional testing of the LITENING AT system. This testing verified that aircraft mission computer software OFP 19C(A) includes LITENING AT specific interfaces needed to operate the system. This was an important step as the LITENING AT system includes advanced capabilities which are unavailable from other targeting systems cleared to fly on the F/A-18. Some of these additional capabilities include data-link, IR marker, eye-safe laser, collateral damage rings and multi-target flags.
Following the successful completion of the aircraft ground testing, the LITENING AT system was then moved to the RAAF's Integrated Test Facility (ITF) for further functional testing. LITENING AT functionality was verified on both the aircraft and in the ITF.
"The successful demonstration of the advanced targeting system's capabilities and ease of installation on the Hornet is an important milestone for the LITENING AT program," said Mike Lennon, vice president of Targeting and Surveillance programs for Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division.
An additional round of testing will commence later this year, to be followed by service release by the RAAF in early 2007.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With more than 120,000 employees and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.
CONTACT: Katie Lamb Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems (847) 528-1225 Katie.firstname.lastname@example.org