Like many other such technologies, this one too relied until recently mostly on infrared. That changed this week after the company equipped U.S. Air Force (USAF) and Air National Guard F-16s with a Litening system that can display images of the target in full color. For testing and advertising purposes, of course.
According to the company making the system, and obvious to all the rest of us, full-color images of what pilots are about to bomb come with incredible advantages, the biggest of them all being, of course, the fact they can be significantly more certain what they are about to destroy is what actually needs to be destroyed.
There are some 900 Litening pods deployed by U.S. forces and their international partners, and even if Northrop Grumman does not specifically say this, most of them are probably using just infrared.
However, they can be upgraded to color configuration and get as an extra the ability to record simultaneous video feeds from all sensors, automatic laser code display, and an eye-safe mode for more realistic training while using the laser.
According to its makers, the Litening pod can now display three different views simultaneously, with color and infrared shown side by side for the most accurate view of the target possible.
Northrop Grumman does not say how much the upgrade to color view costs.