Lockheed Martin Busy With New Sensors, Sights

 - July 6, 2012, 11:10 AM
Lockheed Martin is upgrading the daylight television camera on the AH-64D Apache helicopter, shown at the lower right of the Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation System/Pilot Night Vision System (M-TADS/PNVS) mounted on the helicopter’s nose. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin plans to upgrade the daylight television camera on U.S. Army AH-64D Apache helicopters with a high-definition color-capable camera with improved field of view. The modernized day sensor assembly (M-DSA) is the last component of the Apache’s nose-mounted target acquisition and designation system (TADS) to be upgraded.

The M-DSA assembly is currently in development, with second-phase capability planned in the fourth quarter of 2014. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is under contract to build five development M-DSA systems. The current daylight camera is paired with an infrared night-vision camera in the TADS system, which is part of the Modernized TADS/Pilot Night Vision System (M-TADS/PNVS), called Arrowhead, that will roll out with Block III Apaches. The company reports delivering 1,000 M-TADS systems.

Lockheed Martin is partnered with Northrop Grumman in supplying the UAS tactical datalink assembly (UTA) that will provide Apache Block IIIs with Level 3 control of UAS sensors and weapons and Level 4 capability to direct an unmanned aircraft in flight. The system is contained in the same mast-mounted radome as the Apache Longbow fire-control radar, which Lockheed Martin assembles in Orlando, Fla. During a tour of that facility in mid-June, the company said it is assembling one UTA per month.

The company said it is increasing production of the target sight system (TSS) for the Bell AH-1Z SuperCobra from one system per month to two systems. The TSS combines a laser designator, color TV and third-generation Flir. The U.S. Marine Corps first deployed the “Zulu” model last November aboard amphibious ships to the Western Pacific, Horn of Africa and Middle East regions. Bell is also offering the latest-model SuperCobra for South Korea’s 36-helicopter competition. That country may choose by October from the field of competing attack helicopters, which includes the Apache Block III.

Lockheed Martin said it has assembled and delivered 62 electro-optical targeting systems (EOTS) for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, including system development and demonstration systems, to its Aeronautics facility in Fort Worth, Texas, where the aircraft is assembled. At the time of the factory tour, the company was completing EOTS deliveries under F-35 low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 4 and was scheduled to deliver 32 systems under LRIP 5. The facility is producing three EOTS systems per month and plans to increase that rate to four systems.