Home Air Leonardo orders Rafael’s Litening-5, RecceLite pods for M-246FA aircraft

Leonardo orders Rafael’s Litening-5, RecceLite pods for M-246FA aircraft

M-346FA light combat aircraft
Photo: Rafael

Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems revealed it has been contracted to supply its Litening-5 and RecceLite pods for Leonardo’s M-346FA light combat aircraft.

According to Rafael, this is the first integration of the electro-optical pods to Leonardo’s M-346FA platform.

The M-346FA is the multi-role combat variant of the jet trainer. The FA variant is also able to operate as a multi-role tactical aircraft, capable of air-to-surface, air-to-air and tactical reconnaissance missions.

Leonardo disclosed in August 2019 that it had found the first customer for the aircraft, without revealing the identity of the buyer.

The aircraft will now be equipped with the Litening 5 which delivers real-time, forward-looking infrared (FLIR+SWIR) and day HD color camera imagery. The pod allows the operation of all types of air-to-surface smart weaponry, such as laser-guided, GPS-guided and EO/IR imaging-guided munition.

With the RecceLite ISR system, the light-attack aircraft will be able to perform target search, using AI, ATR (automatic target recognition) at the interpretation ground station, and other smart algorithms for detection, tracking, and sensor-to-shooter closure.

“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,” Guy Oren, VP, head of RAFAEL’s electro-optical systems directorate, commented.