USAF and Air National Guard F-16 Pilots Can Now See Targets in Full-Color

Have you noticed how most combat videos shot from high up in the sky are black and white? That’s actually infrared, and it’s there for a purpose. But there are times when the good old color view is exactly what the commander prescribed.
U.S Marine Corps AV-8B with Litening pod 7 photos
Photo: U.S. Navy
U.S Marine Corps AV-8B with Litening podNorthrop Grumman Litening advanced targeting podNorthrop Grumman Litening advanced targeting podNorthrop Grumman Litening advanced targeting podNorthrop Grumman Litening advanced targeting podNorthrop Grumman Litening advanced targeting pod
Northrop Grumman is involved in many things and is responsible for a lot of products. One of them is the so-called Litening advanced targeting pod, a piece of hardware that can be attached to military airplanes and used for targeting and surveillance.

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.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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