The Royal Netherlands Air Force, which has already selected RAFAEL’s REECELITE pod for aerial reconaissance, recently selected [release in Dutch] Northrop Grumman & RAFAEL’s 3rd-generation LITENING Advanced Targeting (AT) pods for their F/A-16 Advanced Targeting program to replace their existing LANTIRN twin-pod sets. Under the terms of the contract, which Northrop Grumman described to DID as “over $40 million,” they will deliver 20 targeting pods and spares to the Royal Netherlands Air Force beginning in 2007. Final deliveries will take place in 2008.
LITENING AT was selected following a full competitive analysis that included Lockheed’s Sniper XR and RAFAEL’s LITENING III as alternative finalists. So, what exactly does LITENING AT offer, and how come Northrop Grumman ended up competing against partner RAFAEL?
In June 2005 the government of Turkey and Sikorsky signed a Memorandum of Understanding to buy 12-17 S-70 Seahawk helicopters for the Turkish Navy. Sikorsky just announced that it has managed to turn that MoU into a contract with the Ministry of National Defense, Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) for 17 new S-70B Seahawks, with first deliveries to begin in a year later than originally envisioned in 2009.
Turkey currently flies 7 S-70B Seahawks, after one of its helicopters crashed in 2002. The contract includes an order for 12 helicopters with options for another 5, as well as a retrofit program for existing S-70Bs, ongoing support, and other aspects. According to Turkish reports, the reason for the long delay was apparently the settling of a payment methods dispute between Turkey and Sikorsky.