Apache helicopter

The US Army has taken delivery of the first modernised day sensor assembly (M-DSA) laser range finder designator (LRFD) system from Lockheed Martin for installation onboard its AH-64D/E Apache attack helicopter.

Representing the first phase of upgrades for the M-DSA programme, the modernised LRFD delivery is designed to mitigate obsolescence and also boost performance of the modernised target acquisition designation sight/pilot night-vision sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) system.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control M-TADS/PNVS programmes director Matt Hoffman said the delivery represented a successful team effort that offers significant benefit to the Apache pilot through system reliability, maintainability and performance.

"With more than 685 modernised LRFD kits on contract, this milestone signifies Lockheed Martin’s ability to deliver on its commitment to supporting the soldier," Hoffman added.

US Army Apache sensors product manager lieutenant colonel Steve Van Riper said: "The US Army looks forward to a lasting relationship with the Lockheed Martin and Selex team; we anticipate continued success as we quickly ramp-up to our planned production rate and begin fielding."

"We anticipate continued success as we quickly ramp-up to our planned production rate and begin fielding."

Capable of designating an aim point by means of a laser for the Hellfire II missiles, M-DSA M-LRFD kits are designed to serve as the chief targeting aid for the Apache helicopter by establishing the range to target for accurate weapon aiming.

Second phase M-DSA upgrades are expected to add colour to the Apache cockpit display, in addition to enhancing situational awareness and communications with ground forces.

Also known as Arrowhead, M-TADS/PNVS is an advanced electro-optical fire control system designed to provide pilots with long-range, electro-optical precision engagement and flying targeting capabilities for conducting day, night and adverse-weather missions.

Operational with the army since 2005, the system also proved its capabilities during operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Image: A US Army’s AH-64D Apache readies to bring ammunition for gunnery exercises at Fort Carson in Colorado, US. Photo: courtesy of US Army, by Dustin Senger/Released.

Defence Technology