Abu Musab al Zarqawi, al-Qaida’s top terrorist in Iraq, was killed with help of Israeli target acquisition technology fitted onto a US Air Force F-16. Rafael Armament Development Authority Ltd. supplies Litening advanced airborne infrared targeting and navigation pod to Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC), which installs them on combat jets under a cooperation agreement. The Israel Air Force also uses the Litening.
According to a report by senior US Air Force officers, al Zarqawi was killed by a pair of USAF F-16s on a routine mission in central Iraq, when the decision to act was taken. USAF commander in Iraq, Lt.-Gen. Gary North said the fighters carried a variety of laser and GPS-guided ordinance and the Litening pod.
The Litening pod has target-acquisition capability, laser spot detection and tracking and a video camera. For the Zarqawi strike, the pilot activated the system from 20,000 feet, guided a 250kg. bomb to its target, and then used pod’s video camera to examine the resulting damage. A second bomb was then dropped, which killed al Zarqawi.
In a media briefing, senior USAF officers mentioned Litening’s role in locating the target. “Aviation Week” said that the pod was Northrop Grumman’s but did not mention that the technology was Israeli, developed at Rafael.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on June 18, 2006
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