RAFAEL and Leonardo will supply the M-346FA with Rafael’s Litening 5, RecceLite systems

By Editor 19-May-2020

RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems will supply 5th generation Litening-5 and RecceLite systems to equip Leonardo's M-346FA light combat aircraft. This is the first integration of 5th generation EO pods to Leonardo's M-346FA platform. The M-346FA is the multirole combat variant of the most advanced jet trainer that has been designed for a wide range of training capabilities, long-term reliability and cost-effective operations. The FA variant is also able to operate very effectively as a multi-role tactical aircraft, capable of air-tosurface, air-to-air and tactical reconnaissance missions.

Integrated with RAFAEL's pods, the jet will now have combat-proven, stand-off capabilities using the Litening 5 multi-spectral airborne targeting pod. The Litening 5 pod is in use by 27 air forces and carried by over 25 platforms globally. Litening 5 delivers real-time, forwardlooking infrared (FLIR+SWIR) and day HD color camera imagery. Its high-resolution sensors and effective EO/ IR design ensure reliable operation at significant standoff ranges. Litening 5 allows the operation of all types of air-to-surface smart weaponry, such as laser-guided, GPSguided and EO/IR imagingguided munition.

Litening pods have logged over 2 million flight hours, with more than two-thirds in contingency operations worldwide. With the RecceLite ISR system, the light-attack aircraft will be able to perform target search, using advanced AI, ATR (Automatic Target Recognition) at the interpretation ground station, and other smart algorithms for efficient detection, tracking, and sensor-to-shooter closure. Using its advanced ISR, image processing, and artificial intelligence, the system achieves optimal data-exploitation at the ground station, of intelligence data relayed in real-time and mission execution in near-real-time.

RecceLite has been delivered to 13 customers world-wide and integrated onto various aircraft, including the F-16, F-18, Jaguar, AMX, Tornado, Typhoon, Gripen, Heron TP, Reaper and others. It is used by air forces in Europe, the Far East and South America. Guy Oren, VP, Head of RAFAEL's Electro-optical systems directorate said; "this new cooperation with Leonardo opens new markets to integrate our advanced systems to additional light, cost-effective platforms, based on our vast experience and integration legacy in all domains.” Emanuele Merlo, Leonardo’s Aircraft Division SVP Trainers said ; “we see a growing number of nations that have requirements for trainers that are also able to perform close-air support missions, and the addition of RAFAEL's globally combatproven 5th gen. targeting and ISR pods is a significant, forcemultiplying enhancement to our platform.”