February 10, 1986: First Live Launch of Maverick from a LANTIRN Equipped F-16

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  • Air Force Flight Test Center

The first live launch of an AGM-65D Maverick from a Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night, equipped F-16 was successfully accomplished over the China Lake Naval Weapons Center.

Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night, or LANTIRN, is a combined navigation and targeting pod system for use on the United States Air Force fighter aircraft — the F-15E Strike Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon (Block 40/42 C & D models). LANTIRN significantly increases the combat effectiveness of these aircraft, allowing them to fly at low altitudes, at night and under-the-weather to attack ground targets with a variety of precision-guided weapons.

The research and development program began in September 1980 with Martin Marietta Corp. (now Lockheed Martin, Inc.), Orlando, Florida, as contractor. Initial operational test and evaluation of the LANTIRN navigation pod was successfully completed in December 1984. The Air Force approved low-rate initial production of the navigation pod in March 1985 and full-rate production in November 1986. The first production pod was delivered to the Air Force March 31, 1987. LANTIRN represented a major advance in the U.S. military's ability to carry out operations in darkness and adverse weather, and has been developed further into its successor, the AN/AAQ-33 Sniper pod.

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