Northrop Grumman to deliver next-gen targeting system to USMC
Photo: Defence Connect
Northrop Grumman has secured an initial production and operations contract with the United States Marine Corps (USMC) to deliver the Next Generation Handheld Targeting System (NGHTS).
Northrop Grumman’s NGHTS system performs rapid target acquisition, laser terminal guidance operation, and laser spot imaging functions using its advanced range finder and designator — this will provide ground forces with the option to call in a target, transmit the precise location or use laser designation where previously the only option was to call in target coordinates on a field radio.
Bob Gough, vice-president of navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman, explained, “NGHTS’ advanced technology will significantly enhance warfighters’ ability to safely complete their missions.
“NGHTS is lightweight and combines four systems into one portable device with state-of-the-art imaging, targeting, ranging, designating, and networking. This compact, multi-sensor electro-optical/infrared device lightens Marines’ loads and keeps them connected while adding precision and safety to their missions,” Gough explained further.
This single, ergonomic handheld product packed with advanced targeting capabilities will enable the Marines to quickly acquire and perform guidance against targets and generate target location data during combat operations.
NGHTS features three sensors: a colour day imager, a low-light imager, and a thermal imager for creating images in total darkness.
It also includes a high-precision GPS receiver and a celestial compass that provides azimuth readings (the angular measurement in a spherical coordinate system) for a target’s heading relative to NGHTS to within fractions of a degree — the system allows for further targeting ranges than current legacy systems.
The NGHTS system provides superior observation from even the most environmentally and physically onerous locations — during twilight, one of the most challenging times of day to see targets. The streamlined graphical user interface (GUI) provides a sharp and clear image.
This improved user experience allows the warfighter to conduct accurate target location and laser guidance during combat operations no matter the conditions.
Weighing less than 4.5 kilograms, the unit is extremely durable, and will be tested under extreme conditions of temperature, vibration, salt-fog and altitude. To create efficiencies and prioritise sustainment, Northrop Grumman designed various parts for NGHTS that can be 3D printed in the field rather sending them elsewhere for repair.