Northrop Grumman [NOC] and Lockheed Martin [LMT] said Tuesday the latest version of the AN/APG-78 LONGBOW Fire Control Radar for the Army’s AH-64E Apache helicopters has successfully completed Follow-On Test and Evaluation II. 

The two companies, under the LONGBOW joint venture, said the upgraded fire control radar demonstrated a new 360-degree surveillance mode and a detection range twice as long as the previous version.

Apache Helicopter with the Longbow Fire Control Radar (FCR) above the main rotor.
Photo: Boeing

“Our open systems architecture approach allowed us to unlock phenomenal performance without any hardware changes,” Northrop Grumman’s Susan Bruce, vice president of the LONGBOW joint venture, said in a statement. “Version six is a major update to LONGBOW’s capabilities providing significant situational awareness and targeting capabilities to the warfighter.”

Officials said the validation of the latest LONGBOW radar during FOT&E included detecting numerous ground and maritime targets, as well as demonstrating enhanced detection of unmanned aerial vehicles.

“LONGBOW’s Version 6 software helps increase survivability to the AH-64E aircrews, reduces workload and enhances stand-off range,” Lockheed Martin’s Jim Messina, president of the joint venture, said in a statement. 

The Apache radar provides the helicopter crew with automatic target detection and then enables rapid, multi-target detection using AGM-179 Joint Air-to-Ground Missile missiles.

The two companies said, to date,  nearly 500 LONGBOW fire control radars have been delivered to the Army.