Tight budgets and a limited number of aircraft, have forced most modern fighter aircraft to become multi-role and tactical reconnaissance is one role that can be readily assumed - provided you have access to a decent tac recce pod.
The Israeli firm of Rafael have marketed the successful Litening FLIR targeting pod for some time, indeed the pod was so successful that it was also manufactured and sold by Grumman in the US. Nevertheless, Rafael recognised the need to also market a tactical reconnaissance pod and, rather than manufacture an entirely new pod, used the Litening as the basis for its new reconnaissance pod.
The RecceLite pod uses the same structure and support equipment and is about 70% common with the Litening. The laser designator in the Litening is removed allowing the installation of a new 0.7 degree FOV third generation 3-5um FPA FLIR, the original FLIR is also removed and replaced with a Imager Handling Unit (IHU). The pod also contains an integral INS for improved stabilisation and INS data can be annotated on each frame of imagery. Imagery is recorded on a digital flight recorder, containing solid-state memory, giving up to 2.5hrs of recording time. A data link allows the transmission of images to a ground station in near real-time. Operating modes include wide-area search below or to either side of the flight path, sideways path scanning and spot collection.
The current Litening pod can be converted into a RecceLite pod as a field upgrade. The RecceLight pod uses the existing targeting pod station and therefore can be used by aircraft already converted to use the Litening pod without any additional intergration work. The Spanish Air Force is already flying the RecceLite pod on their C.15 (EF18A & EF18B Hornets) and Rafael has a further 14 customers interested in acquiring this highly capable and cost-effective reconnaissance system.