Rafael Advanced Defence Systems has teamed with Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI’s) Elta Systems to upgrade the Litening 5 and Reccelite XR all-weather stand-off airborne electro-optic (EO) targeting pods with a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery intelligence payload.
Litening 5 is Rafael’s latest-generation high-resolution multi-sensor targeting pod, incorporating an upgraded 1.2K × 1.2K large aperture forward-looking mid-wave infrared (MWIR) and a short-wave infrared (SWIR). The MWIR/SWIR sensor package is complemented by a large aperture colour charge-coupled device (CCD) containing a 1.2K × 1.6K visible radiation sensor, a laser designator, ground moving target indicator, and advanced image processing and digital video output.
Weighing 250 kg, the Reccelite XR turret incorporates a multispectral sensor package, using red, green, blue, NIR, and MWIR sensors for vertical scanning, and MWIR and SWIR sensors with a large common aperture for stand-off persistent wide-area scanning. The turret features separate wide-band (Ku band) and close air support (C band) digital communications channels, full motion video, and a ground exploitation system with automatic real time processing. The Reccelite XR’s mission plan can be uploaded prior to take off or uplinked during flight, and either performed automatically or manually for targets of opportunity.
A SAR is a coherent, mostly airborne, sidelooking radar system that utilises the flight path of the platform to electronically simulate an extremely large antenna or aperture and generate high-resolution remote sensing imagery. Over time, individual transmit/receive cycles (PRT’s) are completed with the data from each cycle being stored electronically. The GMTI capability enables the radar to discriminate a specific target against clutter.
The addition of the SAR payload – where the EO and radar sensors in the SAR upgraded Litening 5 and RecceLite XR pods are operated autonomously – is a quantum leap both in terms of capability and flexibility, according to Rafael Advanced Defence Systems.
“A few years ago, supported by lessons learned from some of the Litening and Reccelite user community, we identified a requirement for the addition of capability that would turn the already-high performance pods into true all-weather reconnaissance and targeting pods,” a Rafael spokesperson told Jane’s .