The Army is moving ahead with an effort to team unmanned aircraft with the AH-64 Apache gunship, awarding $97 million in contracts to L3 Technologies [LLL] for improved communication and control systems.
L3 received the contracts as part of the Army’s Apache Manned/Unmanned Teaming – eXpanded Capabilities (MUMT-X) helicopter program. The Army is teaming Apaches with Textron Inc.'s [TXT] RQ-7 Shadow and General Atomics' MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones to expand the manned platform’s information-gathering capabilities on reconnaissance missions.
By enabling communications and data teaming between manned and unmanned aircraft, MUMT-X provides the Apache AH-64E with a transformational warfighting capability that is significantly more robust, lighter and less expensive than the original unmanned aircraft system (UAS) control system, according to L3. The award follows successful completion of a 2015 MUMT-X communications upgrade contract in which L3 delivered state-of-the-art systems for high-speed transmissions of wideband video and data.
“Our performance on the MUMT-X development program illustrates our commitment to providing innovative technology that meets the needs of the warfighter,” said Christopher Kubasik, L3’s president and chief operating officer. “This contract award continues L3’s long-term support of the Apache program and exemplifies our dedication to delivering transformational capabilities.”
In this phase of the program, L3 will supply tested and certified Apache MUMT-X above rotor UAS receive technology solutions to support MUMT operations and Air-to-Air-to-Ground line-of-sight data links. This work will be executed by L3 Communication Systems-West, which is part of the company’s Communication Systems business segment.