Saudi Arabia and Great Britain have still not agreed to terms for a resumption of Eurofighter Typhoon deliveries. Twenty-four aircraft are operational in the Middle East kingdom, out of the total 72 agreed in the Al-Salam deal. Construction of numbers 25 upward began in 2009, but instead of proceeding to the final assembly line, the subassemblies were placed in storage at BAE’s Warton factory. When they were eventually moved into final assembly last year, it seemed that an agreement was close.
LITENING targeting pod
The U.S. Air Force (USAF) approved full-rate production of the Sniper advanced targeting pod under its ATP-Sensor Enhancement (ATP-SE) program, manufacturer Lockheed Martin announced on January 16. In November, the service approved full-rate production of Northrop Grumman’s Litening pod under the same program.
Boosted by a visit from British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday, yesterday Eurofighter described an upgrade path for the Typhoon that finally appears to be on a firm footing.
Having selected the Gripen E/F to fulfill its F-5 replacement requirement, the Swiss air force is calmly confident that the acquisition makes it through the political process unscathed. Lt. Gen. Markus Gygax, the air force chief of staff, spoke to AIN last month about his service’s plans for the machine.
Rafael is promoting a new version of the very successful Litening pod here at Paris, after celebrating the 1,000th sale of this targeting and navigation system. It has also developed a multi-sensor ground station from one that it previously built to handle imagery from the Rafael Reccelite reconnaissance pod.
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.”
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.