Military Logistics

RAAF C-130J trials Litening sensor pod

31st January 2020 - 09:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-130J Hercules aircraft has begun flight trials equipped with a Northrop Grumman Litening sensor pod.

Mounted on a pylon underneath the aircraft wing, the AN/AAQ-28(V) Litening pod is capable of recording video in day and night-time conditions, and includes a Forward Looking Infrared camera. 

The pod is being trialled to explore its ability to improve crew situational awareness for different missions, such as helping crew maintain contact with survivors during search and rescue operations, or examine conditions at an airfield or drop zone prior to delivering cargo or personnel.

The trial will also pair the Litening pod with a satellite communications antenna on the Hercules, which is expected to allow high-definition video to be shared with ground-based units or headquarters.

Air Commodore Carl Newman, Commander Air Mobility Group, said: ‘Sharing this information would have applications during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.

‘A Hercules could deliver relief cargo following a cyclone, then immediately take off and record video showing the extent of storm damage to local communities and infrastructure. That information could be streamed live to local governments, emergency services and other agencies, allowing for quicker decision-making about follow-on relief missions.’

Flight trials are being conducted from RAAF Base Richmond by No 37 Squadron and the Aircraft Research and Development Unit, with support from the Air Warfare Engineering Squadron. The pod and pylon was integrated by Airbus Australia Pacific with assistance from Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.

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