The US Army has contracted Longbow, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, to upgrade its Apache attack helicopter fire control radar (FCR) systems.

Under the $89.8m contract, Longbow will produce 84 radar electronics units (REUs) and software upgrades.

The Longbow fire control radar's electronics units reduce the size, weight and power requirements of the system by replacing two electronics boxes.

The upgrades will increase the processing capability of the radar to support new software features in development.

Longbow vice-president Anthony Joseph said: “We are pleased to continue to deliver Longbow FCR REUs to the US Army.

“Longbow FCR is a highly versatile system that provides an unmatched advantage to the warfighter.”

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"Our top priority is to deliver this new capability as quickly and efficiently as possible to support the army’s fielding requirements."

The radars provide Apache aircrews with automatic detection, classification and prioritisation of targets on land, water and in the air, while enabling rapid, multi-target engagement in all weather and through battlefield obscurants.

The self-contained radar frequency interferometer rapidly identifies enemy air defence units, and data can be transferred in real-time to other platforms and command posts.

Production at Lockheed Martin’s facilities in Florida, US, and at Northrop Grumman’s Baltimore facility will be extended through January 2019 under the contract.

Longbow president Jim Messina said: “Our top priority is to deliver this new capability as quickly and efficiently as possible to support the army’s fielding requirements.”

Image: US Army's Apache attack helicopter. Photo: courtesy of US Army by Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway.