Two semi-official reports have criticized support arrangements for the UK Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon fleet. The UK National Audit Office (NAO) said that the four-nation collaborative contracts were complicated, and had resulted in “shortages of spares and long timescales for equipment repair.” The Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) referred to “a very complex supply chain that stretches all over Europe.”
LITENING targeting pod
Systems house Rafael produces a wide portfolio of sophisticated products, but here at the Farnborough airshow it is expecting significant interest in its reconnaissance sensors. At the top of the line is the RecceLite system, a derivative of the proven Litening targeting pod. RecceLite uses the same pod and infrastructure as the Litening, but is optimized for a variety of reconnaissance tasks from low, medium and high altitudes.
Goodrich ISR Systems has been on the acquisition trail and some of the resulting technology is on display here at the Dubai Airshow (Stand W360). Best known for the DB-110 aerial sensor it has sold to six countries, the Goodrich unit is now marketing additional aerial sensors after buying Recon/Optical Inc. (ROI) last year.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.’s Recce-U real-time reconnaissance system is making its debut here at Paris. The system has been developed from the RecceLite fast-jet tactical reconnaissance pod, an outgrowth of the widely used Litening targeting pod. Recce-U comprises a self-contained multi-sensor ISR system, a ground data link station and a ground exploitation station.
Litening III targeting pods supplied by Ultra Electronics to the RAF have successfully completed their first year of service in Iraq. Mounted on Tornado GR4 combat aircraft, the pods are fitted with a ROVER III-compatible video datalink supplied by Ultra, which also manufactured Litening III under license from Rafael.
Northrop Grumman’s defensive systems division has delivered the first of a new generation of Plug and Play II video datalinks for use with the Litening AT and Litening G4 targeting pods.
L-3 Communications (Hall 4 Stand 18, Chalet A16-18) is showing a new, handheld version of the Rover device that has rapidly become essential kit for allied ground troops directing airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan. The company has already delivered some 4,000 of the previous, laptop-size Rover 3 and 4 versions, which display video feeds from various airborne platforms.
Among the most eagerly awaited show participants listed in pre-Paris releases was the HAL Tejas–India’s Light Combat Aircraft. Two were originally on the list, of which one was due to fly in the air display. However, a new urgency has descended on the program, and the aircraft could not be spared from test flights.
“In today’s combat environment, the name of the game in dropping air-to-ground munitions is how to double the distance from the target from which we can drop the weapon itself–the release range–but still not experience any decrease in accuracy,” said Lockheed Martin’s John Schoeppner. “We have achieved this level of performance with our AN/AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pod, but what we feel further differentiates us from our competitors is our pod’
In past decades better and more accurate weapons served as the generally accepted solution to increasing the effectiveness of an attack aircraft. More recently electro-optical (EO) targeting systems have made those weapons all the more lethal.