Lockheed Martin [LMT] added another contract to the considerable amount of work it is already performing to upgrade the avionics and fire control systems for the Army’s AH-64 Apache helicopters with a $54.3 million deal to integrate color displays into the aircraft cockpit.
Under the contract awarded in December, Lockheed Martin will produce 35 modernized day sensor assembly (M-DSA) kits and spares for the U.S. Army and the Qatar Emiri Air Force.
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).
Production will take place at Lockheed Martin’s facilities in Orlando and Ocala, Fla., through March 2019. A total of $54.3 million was obligated to Lockheed Martin through the M-DSA Phase 2 Lot 1 contract award with a total value not to exceed $130.6 million.
M-DSA Phase 2 upgrades allow Apache pilots to identify targets at further distances through an additional field of view and extended range picture-in-picture capability. They also now have the ability to view high-resolution, near infrared and color imagery on cockpit displays. Phase 2 upgrades also include a new laser pointer marker and a multi-mode laser with eye-safe lasing capability.
“These enhancements enable faster situational understanding for aircrews and more accurate coordination with ground troops,” Matt Hoffman, M-TADS/PNVS director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said in a prepared statement. “With the Apache expected to be in service through 2045, we’re continuing to invest in sensor upgrades, such as the M-DSA, to ensure aircrews have the capabilities they need to address emerging threats.”
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.
Lockheed Martin is currently producing 860 Modernized Laser Rangefinder Designator (M-LRFD) kits under a $21.7 million M-DSA Phase 1 Lot 4 contract awarded in August. M-LRFD is the primary targeting aid for the Apache, enabling pilots to designate targets and establish target range for accurate weapon engagement.
M-TADS/PNVS provides Apache helicopter pilots’ long-range, precision engagement and pilotage capabilities for mission success and flight safety during day and night and in adverse weather conditions. Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 1,350 M-TADS/PNVS systems to the U.S. Army and international customers.