Lockheed Martin [LMT] recently said it will lead the Apache Video from Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Interoperability Teaming-Level 2 (VUIT-2) program through September 2009.

The Apache VUIT-2 system receives streaming battlefield video and metadata from Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and displays it on Apache cockpit multi-purpose displays, enhancing situational awareness and dramatically reducing the sensor-to-shooter timeline, improving effectiveness against time-critical targets.

As the systems integrator, under the contract from the Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD), Lockheed Martin will transition VUIT-2 to production.

The Army first awarded Lockheed Martin a contract in 2007 for development, production and rapid fielding of the VUIT-2 system for the initial demonstration battalion.

“Recent testing at the National Training Center has demonstrated the Apache VUIT-2 system’s significant value to the Warfighter,” William Murtha, Apache VUIT-2 senior program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said. “Lockheed Martin understands the criticality of this capability to the pilot, and has gone from design to production in less than one year.”

VUIT-2 can transmit both Apache and UAS video, via a mini-tactical common data link, to soldiers on the ground equipped with One System Remote Video Terminals. While linked, the UAS can seek possible threats and targets, reducing risk to aircrews and affording Apache pilots improved situational awareness.

VUIT-2 also enables video to be sent to ground operations for confirmation and positive target identification. Once accurately confirmed, targets with precision missiles or other weapon systems can be engaged by Apache crews. Planned upgrades to the VUIT-2 system will provide future interface with the Apache Block III UAS Tactical Common Data Link Assembly scheduled for fielding in 2011.

“Apache VUIT-2 will save lives and provide a vital capability to the U.S. Army for years to come,” Rich Russell, director of Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said.

The development and production of the Apache VUIT-2 system is performed at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando and Ocala, Fla.