Testing new tech on the A-10

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cheyenne A. Powers
  • 355th Wing Public Affairs

Operational test personnel from the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center, a tenant unit on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, conducted a ground test on a new visual display system for the A-10C Thunderbolt II, April 14, 2021.

The LITENING Digital Port Plug-n-Play III+ allows the pilot to see a high-definition picture of multiple targeting pod sensors simultaneously on a tablet inside the A-10.

“The A-10 has used the LITENING targeting pod for about 20 years using a standard definition video feed that shows one sensor at a time,” said Lt. Col. Jason Case, AATC A-10 pilot. “We were ground testing an HD video wireless data stream from the targeting pod to the tablet in the cockpit.”

The AATC is the only Air Reserve Component Operational Test Organization that tests new capabilities for Air Force aircraft. Though they do not fall under the 355th Wing’s command, they often play a crucial role in implementing modernization efforts on both the reserve component and active duty aircraft on Davis-Monthan and Air Force wide.

“This new technology would allow the pilot to not only see the video in higher definition, but would also allow them to watch up to three different sensors at the same time,” Case said. “We are also testing the pivot suction cup bracket and Samsung Active 2 Case.  Pivot’s bracket and case will allow the pilot to mount the tablet in a location that will decrease work load and increase situational awareness.”

For now the PnP3+ is a temporary answer to the requirement to display HD targeting pod video inside the A-10’s cockpit.

“Units will get these LITENING pods and tablets as they prepare to deploy and then would have them during their deployment,” Case said. “This is a short term solution while waiting for the A-10’s new High Resolution Display System.”

Total force partnerships like these allow AATC and Davis-Monthan to accomplish various mission sets with ease. The interoperability of guard, reserve and active duty forces enables the Air Force to remain unmatched in its response to warfighter requirements, and allows new, innovative support to the aircraft the total force employs.

“We really appreciate the support of both the 355th Wing and 924th Fighter Group,” Case said. “Without the help of these organizations, AATC would not be able to perform our mission.”

The ever-changing global climate of conflict requires the Air Force to adapt and deploy ready, lethal forces anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. The 355th Wing remains on the leading edge of this charge by providing its units an environment to continue their efforts in improving a more lethal force.