The Army on Wednesday awarded Lockheed Martin [LMT] a $21.7 million contract to upgrade cockpit displays in the AH-64E Apache attacks helicopters.
The contract is the fourth lot of modernized day sensor assembly (M-DSA) upgrade kits for the Apache, of a total contract value up to $50.9 million for the two-phased upgrades, Lockheed Martin said.
In the first phase of enhancements are the installation of modernized laser rangefinder designator (M-LRFD) kits, which will upgrade the aircraft’s primary targeting sensor. The kit allows pilots to designate targets and identify their range before firing weapons.
M-DSA is an upgrade to the Apache’s targeting and pilotage system, the long name of which is the modernized target acquisition designation sight/pilot night vision sensor (M-TADS/PNVS).
The AH-64E is the latest version of the rotorcraft, which the Army intends to use as a multi-role scout/attack helicopter in the place of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed aerial scout.
Lockheed Martin is on contract to produce 786 M-LRFD kits for the Army and international customers, of which more than 200 kits have been delivered.
“We are currently fielding laser kits as part of the M-DSA Phase 1 upgrade and are on track to equip approximately seven Apache battalions a year,” Matt Hoffman, M-TADS/PNVS director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said in a statement.
Phase two of the M-DSA program is ready to begin production, Lockheed Martin said. It consists of upgrading cockpit displays to allow Apache pilots to view high-resolution, near-infrared and color imagery.
Phase two upgrades also include a new laser pointer marker and a multi-mode laser with the ability to designate targets without harming the human eye.
“These improvements allow for better coordination with ground troops and safe flight in urban environments and during training exercises,” Lockheed Martin said.