A new academic video is up about the DCS: F/A-18C covering the basic functionality of the AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING targeting pod when paired with GPS guided munitions such as the JDAM. More than just a video, Eagle Dynamics confirms that this basic functionality is coming with the pod later today! (We hope!)
Litening things up!
It appears that the work put into the Litening pod involved a lot of behind the scenes heavy lifting as the pod will still have some limited functionality from the start. The tutorial video below covers the ability to spot targets using different types of camera modes (including filter modes like white-hot and black-hot). Matt Wagner does not show it using the laser designator and this appears to be something coming later.
The description of the video also talks about what else is planned for future (near we hope) implementation:
In videos coming soon, I will delve into using the pod with laser-guided bombs, laser Mavericks, Laser Spot Search (LSS) mode, and setting target points for AUTO unguided bomb attacks. Other elements will be coming to the pod like HUD symbology, INR and snow plow modes, additional reticles, AA mode, and more.Matt Wagner
For now we’ll still have some limited use cases, however, being able to employ GPS guided weapons on the fly is certainly a big upgrade and one of the primary reasons for me to use a TGP (in addition to lasing targets) on the DCS: F/A-18C so this is a good step forward.
UPDATE (July 31 at 10:52 pm EDT): A second video has been made available showing off the laser designating features of the targeting pod. Great to see!
But what really has been taking so long?
As for what has been taking so long just to get to this point… I think your guess is as good as mine. It was hoped to see this pod added in May, June and then July. Now its coming in under the wire on the 31st of July.
Even being the glass half full and generally positive person that I am was really starting to wonder what was taking so long. Eagle Dynamics has been doing a lot of behind the scenes work on systems related to the Hornet that have far reaching implications for multiple modules (i.e. giving the JDAM bombs a proper flight model for example) but we don’t necessarily see that on display here just yet.
In any case, we’ve finally got a targeting pod for the Hornet and that’s a very positive thing. Hopes are for seeing the rest of its functionality sooner than later.