Litening G4 capabilities

Mk.82

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The targeting pods are important part of the modern fighters capabilities for strike missions.
And they have become more capable in the last decade with side-looking AESA radars and data-links to deliver imagery and video to ground troops as well to other participants, so pilot doesn't need to verbally tell what they are seeing but can just send a pictures and video to ground units, that then can even draw on them and send it back. So pilot gets visually a hand drawn symbols that where something is in the targeting pods video.

But what are the more modern targeting pods capabilities really?

There is a claim on the Digital Combat Simulation forum that Litening G4 is capable to control and launch Maverick missiles, independently from the aircraft avionics.
Does this mean that such targeting pods has received capabilities to now be mounted on any aircraft and then the weapons as well and the Litening targeting pod can be used to launch and guide those missiles?
As it would make it very cheap way to arm any aircraft to be A-G capable when the Litening G4 can perform the weapons systems duties.

The company behind this idea (Razbam) is claiming that Litening G4 has such capabilities for pilot to control via HOTAS and its 4-way Sensor Select Switch:

UP = LTIP (Laser Target Imaging Program, a Short-Wave Infrared Laser Augmented Imaging)
UP Long = Switch to Laser Maverick and control and launch it.
Right = FLIR polarization
Right Long = CCD / FLIR
Down = Point Track / Area Track
Down Long = INR (Inertia) track mode
Left = Zoom In / Out
Left Long = Begin LSS / LST (Laser Spot Search and Laser Spot Track)

Does anyone have information that what other features and capabilities a such advanced targeting pod can have than control the weapons like Mavericks and does such make possible to weaponize in wartime a civilian aircraft to perform a cheap ground attack missions?
 

DWG

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There is a claim on the Digital Combat Simulation forum that Litening G4 is capable to control and launch Maverick missiles, independently from the aircraft avionics.
Does this mean that such targeting pods has received capabilities to now be mounted on any aircraft and then the weapons as well and the Litening targeting pod can be used to launch and guide those missiles?

Unless you have a Mil-Std-1760 databus to the weapon hardpoint this isn't going to work because something needs to tell the hardpoint to drop its ordnance/launch its missile and tell the ordnance/missile this is happening. And the pod needs to communicate with the cockpit over the Mil-Std-1760/1553 databus network so that the pilot can see what it is detecting and control it- iow the idea of the pod being somehow functional separate from the avionics cannot exist. For laser guided weapons this would be even more limited, because of the need for everyone on the battlefield to coordinate their laser emissions to not conflict. The ordnance needs to know what laser codes to look for in order to ensure it homes on the correct target. If there is no databus to tell it that, then you can't use it. Similar problems will exist for optronically guided ordnance.
 

Mk.82

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There is a claim on the Digital Combat Simulation forum that Litening G4 is capable to control and launch Maverick missiles, independently from the aircraft avionics.
Does this mean that such targeting pods has received capabilities to now be mounted on any aircraft and then the weapons as well and the Litening targeting pod can be used to launch and guide those missiles?

Unless you have a Mil-Std-1760 databus to the weapon hardpoint this isn't going to work because something needs to tell the hardpoint to drop its ordnance/launch its missile and tell the ordnance/missile this is happening. And the pod needs to communicate with the cockpit over the Mil-Std-1760/1553 databus network so that the pilot can see what it is detecting and control it- iow the idea of the pod being somehow functional separate from the avionics cannot exist.

The wiring would need to be done from every hardpoint to the hardpoint that has the targeting pod and then from targeting pod to avionics?
The above picture as such that is tried to be explained.
While it should be the bottom one where every hardpoint goes through avionics (central processing unit or something) and one at the time is active for one display that has priority for controls?

Sorry for my amazing drawing skills to try to get the idea of the databus design.

databus.gif


For laser guided weapons this would be even more limited, because of the need for everyone on the battlefield to coordinate their laser emissions to not conflict. The ordnance needs to know what laser codes to look for in order to ensure it homes on the correct target. If there is no databus to tell it that, then you can't use it. Similar problems will exist for optronically guided ordnance.

But can't the targeting pod tell the missile that what laser code it has been set to?
As some weapons requires laser code to be entered by the ground crew and some supports the laser code to be set by the computer. So couldn't in such case just have same properly chosen code set for both and just uncage the missile to seek the targeting pod laser?

As far I understand that there shouldn't be any connection between the targeting pods as even manufacturers say that they are independent units, that can have own features but wouldn't that mean it could have capability to feed video from the missile/bomb through the CPU and then transmit it over to multifunction displays and listen HOTAS controls (above drawing with A and C connections)?
 

timmymagic

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There is a claim on the Digital Combat Simulation forum that Litening G4 is capable to control and launch Maverick missiles, independently from the aircraft avionics.
Does this mean that such targeting pods has received capabilities to now be mounted on any aircraft and then the weapons as well and the Litening targeting pod can be used to launch and guide those missiles?

Unless you have a Mil-Std-1760 databus to the weapon hardpoint this isn't going to work because something needs to tell the hardpoint to drop its ordnance/launch its missile and tell the ordnance/missile this is happening. And the pod needs to communicate with the cockpit over the Mil-Std-1760/1553 databus network so that the pilot can see what it is detecting and control it- iow the idea of the pod being somehow functional separate from the avionics cannot exist. For laser guided weapons this would be even more limited, because of the need for everyone on the battlefield to coordinate their laser emissions to not conflict. The ordnance needs to know what laser codes to look for in order to ensure it homes on the correct target. If there is no databus to tell it that, then you can't use it. Similar problems will exist for optronically guided ordnance.

Not necessarily related to this but the South Korean's were using a tablet, on the pilots knee, in their KF-16's to transmit, via bluetooth, guidance co-ordinates direct to their Korean developed JDAM equivalent, the KGGB. Saved a lot on integration work with the F-16's apparently and could be done very easily on the fly. Not sure how it would hold up in a peer vs peer heavy EW environment...but given the range's from the cockpit to munition might be fine. The bomb could then be pickled off in the usual way.
 

Mk.82

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There is a claim on the Digital Combat Simulation forum that Litening G4 is capable to control and launch Maverick missiles, independently from the aircraft avionics.
Does this mean that such targeting pods has received capabilities to now be mounted on any aircraft and then the weapons as well and the Litening targeting pod can be used to launch and guide those missiles?

Unless you have a Mil-Std-1760 databus to the weapon hardpoint this isn't going to work because something needs to tell the hardpoint to drop its ordnance/launch its missile and tell the ordnance/missile this is happening. And the pod needs to communicate with the cockpit over the Mil-Std-1760/1553 databus network so that the pilot can see what it is detecting and control it- iow the idea of the pod being somehow functional separate from the avionics cannot exist. For laser guided weapons this would be even more limited, because of the need for everyone on the battlefield to coordinate their laser emissions to not conflict. The ordnance needs to know what laser codes to look for in order to ensure it homes on the correct target. If there is no databus to tell it that, then you can't use it. Similar problems will exist for optronically guided ordnance.

Not necessarily related to this but the South Korean's were using a tablet, on the pilots knee, in their KF-16's to transmit, via bluetooth, guidance co-ordinates direct to their Korean developed JDAM equivalent, the KGGB. Saved a lot on integration work with the F-16's apparently and could be done very easily on the fly. Not sure how it would hold up in a peer vs peer heavy EW environment...but given the range's from the cockpit to munition might be fine. The bomb could then be pickled off in the usual way.

That is very interesting implementation!

I have only seen it in the laser guided rockets to be wireless programming for the pod before. And thought that is interesting idea as it will in future allow more freedom in weapon design as you are not restricted to the umbilical connection to the warhead or the motor.

As far I know the targeting pods like Litening doesn't have wireless connectivity for cockpit or the weapons. So it is still would require a wiring directly from weapon to targeting pod. But I just can't believe that targeting pods would have any capability to transmit any coordinates or codes to weapons or even receive signal (wireless or wired) from them directly, but there should be some kind computer between weapon and the targeting pod and systems are restricted to it limitations.
Example the litening side looking AESA radar seems to be self-processed by the targeting pod and then the pod itself generate a picture from it and sends it as video to the litening video so pilot still commands just the targeting pod but not the radar.
 

DWG

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There is a claim on the Digital Combat Simulation forum that Litening G4 is capable to control and launch Maverick missiles, independently from the aircraft avionics.
Does this mean that such targeting pods has received capabilities to now be mounted on any aircraft and then the weapons as well and the Litening targeting pod can be used to launch and guide those missiles?

Unless you have a Mil-Std-1760 databus to the weapon hardpoint this isn't going to work because something needs to tell the hardpoint to drop its ordnance/launch its missile and tell the ordnance/missile this is happening. And the pod needs to communicate with the cockpit over the Mil-Std-1760/1553 databus network so that the pilot can see what it is detecting and control it- iow the idea of the pod being somehow functional separate from the avionics cannot exist. For laser guided weapons this would be even more limited, because of the need for everyone on the battlefield to coordinate their laser emissions to not conflict. The ordnance needs to know what laser codes to look for in order to ensure it homes on the correct target. If there is no databus to tell it that, then you can't use it. Similar problems will exist for optronically guided ordnance.

Not necessarily related to this but the South Korean's were using a tablet, on the pilots knee, in their KF-16's to transmit, via bluetooth, guidance co-ordinates direct to their Korean developed JDAM equivalent, the KGGB. Saved a lot on integration work with the F-16's apparently and could be done very easily on the fly. Not sure how it would hold up in a peer vs peer heavy EW environment...but given the range's from the cockpit to munition might be fine. The bomb could then be pickled off in the usual way.

That's essentially a botch job*, it means you can't, for example, link the coordinates from a laser-designated point on the ground to the weapon. Whether its coming from the designator pod, or up a datalink from another aircraft, or in manual (or increasingly datalinked) five-line format from a forward observer, the pilot still has to go eyes-down to enter the data manually, with all the potential
for botching it, or being caught with less than full situational awareness. I'm personally surprised they can get a bluetooth signal out of the cockpit (and I really, really hope they've encrypted the link beyond standard pairing).

I've worked on weapon release systems and I'm surprised the Koreans skipped out on doing it the proper way, unless the US was being awkward over access to that code.

* Of which a lot have seen service over the years, but that's the first wireless one I've come across.
 

DWG

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The wiring would need to be done from every hardpoint to the hardpoint that has the targeting pod and then from targeting pod to avionics?
The above picture as such that is tried to be explained.
While it should be the bottom one where every hardpoint goes through avionics (central processing unit or something) and one at the time is active for one display that has priority for controls?

Think of it as bit like ethernet, there's wiring connecting everything to everything else and the precise layout doesn't particularly matter. There's one bus controller, probably in the mission computer, multiple remote terminals that interact when they get the right message, and also stuff that just listens. That's Mil-Std-1553, partially overlaid on that is the Mil-Std-1760 network, which tells the individual weapons what to look for from Mil-Std-1553. Mil-Std-1553 talks over a twisted pair of wires (or fibre-optic for Mil-Std-1773), but individual remote terminals can also have discretes, specific wires that connect to individual bits of hardware that causes things to happen, such as powering a control surface in a specific direction, or releasing a bomb. So picture a hardpoint as a Remote Terminal, plugged into the general databus, and with a bunch of discretes coming out of the other side that link to things in the pylon such as the release clamps, and to the connector to the weapon over which they can relay Mil Std 1760 and 1553 instructions, such as the laser code to look for.

Mil-Std-1760 will run out of the weapons computer and talk largely to the weapons, but I believe it does that over the Mil-Std-1553 wiring.

But can't the targeting pod tell the missile that what laser code it has been set to?

You still need the connectivity from targeting pod to cockpit, so that the pilot can select the target, and from pilot to weapons computer to hardpoint to activate and release the weapon, and if you have that then you can use the full functionality of the pod (or at least a significant part of it). So why settle for the lower functionality solution when you can use everything it offers? It would be like wiring a mouse to your monitor to drive the cursor around the screen (and nothing else), rather than just running it through the USB so you could actually use it to do stuff when you click.
 

Mk.82

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Think of it as bit like ethernet, there's wiring connecting everything to everything else and the precise layout doesn't particularly matter. There's one bus controller, probably in the mission computer, multiple remote terminals that interact when they get the right message, and also stuff that just listens.

But doesn't that mean then that one could make the Litening receive the signal from the missile, handle the commands and then send own signal to cockpit as overlay to the missile signal?

Missile <-> Litening <-> Cockpit

You still need the connectivity from targeting pod to cockpit, so that the pilot can select the target, and from pilot to weapons computer to hardpoint to activate and release the weapon, and if you have that then you can use the full functionality of the pod (or at least a significant part of it). So why settle for the lower functionality solution when you can use everything it offers?

I didn't understand now that part.

Sorry for my ignorance, but I just don't get my head around about the ideas that targeting pods would these days be like a master avionic systems that can control weapons and you just need to have the targeting pod controls in cockpit.
 

DWG

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You still need the connectivity from targeting pod to cockpit, so that the pilot can select the target, and from pilot to weapons computer to hardpoint to activate and release the weapon, and if you have that then you can use the full functionality of the pod (or at least a significant part of it). So why settle for the lower functionality solution when you can use everything it offers?

I didn't understand now that part.

The pod needs to be connected to the cockpit, the hardpoint needs to be connected to the cockpit so that the pilot can control weapons release. If you have those connections then you can access its full functionality, why settle for less?
 

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