Lantirn Project
(Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting InfaRed for Night)

Lantirn Microwave Program Description
LANTIRN Microwave is a 4 module set consisting of the RF Exciter, First IF Amplifier, Hybrid Amplifier, and the Mixer Preamplifier module.  These modules are built in AF1 and delivered to McKinnney for integration into the navigation (radar) pod. The navigation pod is then sent to Lockheed Martin for integration with the Electro-Optics pod to make up the LANTIRN system.  Pictures of LANTIRN on an F-16.

Lantirn General Information
To see the Lockheed Martin Lantirn Web Page, click here.
Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night, or LANTIRN, is used primarily on the F-15E Eagle and F-16C/D Fighting Falcon. LANTIRN significantly increases the combat effectiveness of these aircraft, allowing them to fly at low altitudes, at night and under-the-weather to attack ground targets with a variety of precision-guided and unguided weapons.

LANTIRN consists of a navigation pod and a targeting pod integrated and mounted externally beneath the aircraft.

The navigation pod provides high-speed penetration and precision attack on tactical targets at night and in adverse weather. The navigation pod also contains a terrain-following radar and a fixed infrared sensor, which provides a visual cue and input to the aircraft's flight control system, enabling it to maintain a preselected altitude above the terrain and avoid obstacles. This sensor displays an infrared image of the terrain in front of the aircraft, to the pilot, on a head-up display. The navigation pod enables the pilot to fly along the general contour of the terrain at high speed, using mountains, valleys and the cover of darkness to avoid detection. The pod houses the first wide-field, forward-looking infrared navigation system for Air Force air-superiority fighters.

The targeting pod contains a high-resolution, forward-looking infrared sensor (which displays an infrared image of the target to the pilot), a laser designator-range finder for precise delivery of laser-guided munitions, a missile boresight correlator for automatic lock-on of AGM-65D imaging infrared Maverick missiles, and software for automatic target tracking. These features simplify the functions of target detection, recognition and attack and permit pilots of single-seat fighters to attack targets with precision-guided weapons on a single pass.

The research and development program began in September 1980 with Martin Marietta Corp. [now Lockheed Martin, Inc.], Orlando, Fla., as contractor. Initial operational test and evaluation of the LANTIRN navigation pod was successfully completed in December 1984. The Air Force approved low-rate initial production of the navigation pod in March 1985 and full-rate production in November 1986. The first production pod was delivered to the Air Force March 31, 1987.

In April 1986, initial operational test and evaluation of the LANTIRN targeting pod proved that a low-altitude, night, under-the-weather, precision attack mission was feasible. The Air Force approved low-rate initial production in June 1986. Introduction of the LANTIRN revolutionized night warfare by denying enemy forces the sanctuary of darkness.

General Characteristics

Primary function Low altitude navigation and targeting infrared for night flying
Prime Contractor Lockheed Martin, Inc.
Length Navigation pod, 78.2 inches (1.99 meters); targeting pod, 98.5 inches (2.51 meters)
Diameter Navigation pod, 12 inches (.31 meters); targeting pod, 15 inches (.38 meters)
Weight Navigation pod, 470 pounds (211.5 kilograms); targeting pod, 524 pounds (235.8 kilograms)
Aircraft F-15E, F-16C/D
Sensors Infrared and terrain following radar sensors are on the navigation pod. Infrared and laser designator and ranging sensors are on the targeting pod.
Introduction Date March 1987
Unit Cost Navigation pod, $1.38 million; targeting pod, $3.2 million

[ Back to Top ]

Recent Upgrades
More than 1,400 pods are deployed by the US Air Force, Air National Guard and Navy, and nine international air forces. The US Air Force has made a commitment to fly and fight with LANTIRN until 2025. Three hardware enhancements to the targeting pod comprise the basic LANTIRN 2000. These additions are:
• A quantum well, third-generation forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor.
• A 40,000-foot altitude, diode-pumped laser.
• A more compact, more powerful computer system.

AN/AAQ-13 Navigation Pod
1. Environmental Control Unit
2. Terrain-Following Radar
3. Antenna
4. Forward-Looking Infra-Red
5. Power Supply
Lantirn-Nav Breakout.gif (19256 bytes)
AN/AAQ-14 Targeting Pod
1.Environmental Control Unit
2.Power Supply
3.Control Computer
4.Forward-Looking Infra-Red
6.Missile Boresight Correlator
Lantirn-Target Breakout.gif (19317 bytes)

Lantirn-On F16.jpg (46997 bytes)
Close-up of LANTIRN installation on a Greek F-16CJ prior to delivery: AN/AAQ-13 Navigation pod on the port chin station (right side of pic), AN/AAQ-14 Targeting pod on the starboard chin station (left side of pic).

Lantirn-Close Up.jpg (15266 bytes)
Close-up of the AN/AAQ-14 Targeting pod on the 5R station of an Aviano (31st FW) F-16CG on the ramp at Florennes during TLP 97-3. The large orange window is the FLIR, the smaller yellow one the laser. (349 Photo)

[ Back to Top ]