Leonardo sees surge in export orders for man-portable laser designators from US and Europe

Leonardo sees surge in export orders for man-portable laser designators from US and Europe
  • More than 250 of Leonardo’s Type 163 laser target designators have been procured internationally over the last two years
  • The Type 163 has been fielded by US Special Operations Forces, US Air Force  and parts of the US Air National Guard
  • This success in the land domain builds on Leonardo’s leadership in the airborne laser market, in which the company produces 75% of all high-energy military lasers


Leonardo has announced total sales of over 250 units of its Type 163 Laser Target Designator (LTD) following a surge in orders for the product over the last two years. Ten customers in the US and Europe have now procured the high-energy, man-portable laser systems. The contracts are a boost for Leonardo’s laser business which encompasses around 75% of the global market for high-energy military lasers


Leonardo’s Type 163 LTD has been designed to support Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs), the military service members responsible for supporting fellow troops by directing close air support. Traditionally, laser target designators have proved too heavy and bulky for JTACs to take into front-line operations, causing problems with target identification in close combat operations. Leonardo introduced the Type 163 LTD as a solution to this problem, building on its previous experience in the military lasers market where size, weight and power requirements are critical. The system provides laser-designation and range-finding in a highly-portable (less than 2.3kg) package.


Several further US Department of Defense services have followed Special Operations Forces in selecting the Type 163 LTD including US Air Force JTACs and parts of the US Air National Guard. Other nations are also actively using the Type 163 LTD and have benefitted from the system’s immediate and accurate target identification capabilities.


Leonardo Airborne and Space Systems is the international leader in the high-energy laser targeting market. The company provides targeting lasers for the F-35 aircraft, Apache helicopter and for the Northrop Grumman Litening and Lockheed Martin Sniper targeting pods. The Type 163 LTD is Leonardo’s first application of its high-energy laser technology in the land domain, where the company has been able to benefit from its experience in creating lasers for aircraft where space and power are at a premium. The Type 163 is typically a third of the size of competing land-based systems, includes immediate firing from switch-on and a continuous lasing capability, and produces a high-energy laser with a narrow beam divergence.

Edinburgh 07/12/2016 15:30