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What is the black pod starboard of the front landing gear on this F-16-I? At first I thought that it was a laser finder, but upon closer inspection it seems to resemble some type of short cannon. What might it be?

F-16

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

What you seem to have found is the Litening Targeting Pod.

Northrop Grumman's widely fielded LITENING system is a combat proven, self-contained, multi-sensor targeting and surveillance system. LITENING enables aircrews to detect, acquire, auto-track and identify targets at extremely long ranges for weapon delivery or nontraditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Source

pod

The F16 does have a cannon as well, but it's located on the port side under and aft of the canopy: cannon

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Thank you! Might I ask how you found that? My google-fu must need some improving. –  dotancohen Mar 13 at 9:12
    
@i googled 'f16 weapons', came up with this image and was able to make out something about a pod that looked similar :) happy to help –  MikeFoxtrot Mar 13 at 9:14
    
Thank you, Manfred! –  dotancohen Mar 13 at 9:16
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Mind that an external gun pod for the F-16 was created when it was planned to replace the A-10 with the F-16. It was the GAU-13 and used a scaled down version of the A-10s GAU-8 gun. It was however never produced in numbers and never entered operational service because of its poor accuracy. –  jwenting Mar 13 at 12:18
    
At the start of Desert Storm the USAF did in fact deploy a squadron of 'A-16s' to perform CAS and ground attack using a podded GAU-8. Unfortunately, the only place on an F-16 (of that era anyway) to load an ECM pod is the centerline station, which is also the only place the GAU-8 can be loaded. It only took a couple of near miss SAM engagements before the 'A-16' was converted back into a proper F-16. –  Jim In Texas May 9 at 20:45

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