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Monday, June 19, 2006

Israeli-made targeting pod used to kill al Zarqawi

Not that it will help with those who are looking for reasons to denigrate Israel as an American ally, but once again Israeli technology has helped the United States accomplish a military goal: the targeted killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

According to last night's Globes, al- Zarqawi was killed with the 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, 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.

The Litening pod has target-acquisition capability, laser spot detection and tracking, and a video camera. For the Zarqawi kill, the F-16 pilot activated the system from 20,000 feet, guided a 250kg. bomb to its target, and then used the pod’s video camera to view 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.


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