At the DSEI Show in London (10-13 September), Leonardo announced that it has sold over 600 units of the Type 163 Laser Target Designator (LTD) to 16 customers including Italy, United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Belgium , Denmark, Finland, France, Latvia and the Netherlands. The product's success strengthens Leonardo's position as an international leader in the high-energy military laser market, made at the Edinburgh site in Scotland. Leonardo's high-energy laser business represents more than 70% of global sales for applications on aerial platforms and about 60% of total sales, including those for ground applications.
The Type 163 LTD is used by the Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC), or troops dedicated to close air support. To date, approximately 550 units have been delivered and system users include the US Special Operations Forces. The Type 163 LTD has been tested during multiple operations in the Middle East where operators have experienced its ability to quickly and accurately identify the target in the field.
To implement the system, Leonardo drew on his experience in the production of lasers for aerial applications, which have very restrictive dimensions, weight and power requirements. The result is a portable device that provides the laser designation and defines the target range in an apparatus weighing less than 2,3 kg, with a combination of portability and energy production that has not yet equaled on the market even after five years, since the Type 163 entered service.
To date, Leonardo has produced over 5.000 high-energy military lasers, with a significant milestone achieved in the 2018 when the company delivered its 3000 laser to Lockheed Martin for programs that include the F-35, the Apache helicopter and the pod Sniper. Leonardo also supplies lasers for Northrop Grumman's LITENING pod and is part of the “Dragonfire UK” consortium which is working, on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defense, on a program to develop a demonstrator related to a direct laser energy apparatus. .