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B-52 Litening II pod used in combat

04/12/03 - OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (AFPN) -- For the first time in combat history, a B-52 Stratofortress used a Litening II targeting pod to strike targets at an airfield in northern Iraq on April 11, according to officials at the U.S. Central Command's combined air operations center.

Using the Litening II system,a crew of reservists from the 93rd Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and active-duty airmen from the 23rd BS at Minot AFB, N.D., flew the bomber from a forward-deployed location and dropped one laser-guided GBU-12 Paveway II munition on a radar complex and another on a command complex at the airfield, officials said.

The Litening II pod provides real-time images, greatly increasing an aircrew's flexibility to identify targets in a continually-changing battlefield environment. The pod then allows the B-52 radar-navigator to designate the targets and direct laser-guided weapons without having to rely on another aircraft or person on the ground to "paint" the target with a separate laser designator.

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