The Rafael designed Litening targeting pod, widely acclaimed as the world's leading assault and navigation pod, will very likely equip the indigenously designed and built Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). According to reports, the order covers the production of these systems for the Indian Air Force's initial order of 20 limited series production Tejas aircraft. Reports say that the value of the order is not determined.
The Litening is a multi-sensor, multi-mission, targeting and navigation pod that incorporates in itself all the targeting features required by a modern strike fighter.
The Litening EF (Gen III), which is the latest version of Rafael's Litening pod, provides vital air-to-ground targeting capability including the ability to laser-designate a ground target for attack by other assets.
This version of the Litening pod also provides a ground reconnaissance and scanning capability, even when a fighter is flying at maximum speed at low altitudes and undertaking combat manoeuvres. It can make a digital record of the imagery to facilitate post-mission analysis for training purposes.
The Litening pod also has various additional operating modes, including air-to-air targeting, which can enhance a fighter's air superiority role. The pod is also equipped with third-generation Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) sensors, the images from which can be fed into the pilot's Head-Up Display (HUD) to assist low altitude supersonic night flying.
- Reduced pilot workload during targeting and tracking
- High accuracy and reliability
- Reduced operational limitations
- Simple maintenance and support
- Low life cycle cost
- Growth potential
- Upgrades existing aircraft with multi-mission capabilities
- Adaptable to most aircraft
- Detection, recognition, identification and laser designation of air-to-surface and maritime targets
- Accurate delivery of laser guided munitions, cluster and general-purpose weapons
- Laser spot detection and tracking
- Identification of aerial targets from the Beyond Visual Range (BVR)
- Long range data and video downlink option
According to industry experts, the Litening system is virtually the de facto choice with the world's air forces, as far as this particular application is concerned.
Amongst other aircraft, such as the MiG-21, Su-27, Mirage-2000 and Jaguar, it also arms the JAS-39 Gripen, Tornado, Eurofighter Typhoon and the F/A-18 Hornet.
The Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd manufactured Tejas is an advanced, lightweight, supersonic multi-role fighter aircraft with a tailless, compound delta wing design powered by a single engine.
Limited series production of the Tejas has commenced this year and the aircraft is projected to achieve limited initial operational clearance (IOC) with the Indian Air Force (IAF) by 2008. It is expected to achieve full operational clearance (FOC) by the end of 2010.
A naval variant is also under development.