Dutch Air Force Orders 6 ReeceLight Pods for $40M
Rafael of Haifa, Israel and the Dutch Ministry of Defense have signed a $40-million contract for six REECELITE reconnaissance pods, which will be carried on 306 Squadron’s F-16s at Volkel airbase. The original specification had called for 24 pods, but eDefense believes that 6 is all the Royal Netherlands Air Force will receive. RecceLite also flies on Spain’s F/A-18s.
The new ISR pods are based on the LITENING targeting and surveillance pod. Modifications include removal of the laser targeting, replacement of the 3rd-generation FLIR thermal optics with a new one modified for longer range scans, and the existing closed circuit camera was also upgraded to a new camera with a Zeiss Optronics telescope. With the new equipment, RecceLite can perform low, medium and high altitude missions, at tactical or standoff ranges, simultaneously in IR, VIS and NIR (Near IR) wavebands, during the same mission, with a single pod, and without replacing the sensors suite. Its line of sight flexibility also allows stereo viewing in any of the operational conditions, sensors, and fields of view, generating high quality stereo due to the ability to revisit a target area after a sufficiently large aspect angle was created by the aircraft progression. All this equipment is complemented by a recording unit with the ability to store of 2.5 hours of continuous reconnaissance imagery.
Zeiss Optronics is part of a joint venture partner with RAFAEL, and has been involved in integrating the LITENING pods on Germany’s Tornado and F-4F+ Phantom II aircraft, and the Swedish JAS-39 Gripen.