Apache helicopter

Lockheed Martin has received a Lot 4 follow-on contract from the US Army to continue production of the modernised day sensor assembly (M-DSA) kits for the AH-64E Apache attack helicopter.

The $21.7m contract represents first phase of upgrades to update the Apache’s day sensor assembly includes producing modernised laser rangefinder designator (M-LRFD) kits.

Under the contract, the company will manufacture and deliver 786 M-LRFD kits for the US Army and foreign military sales customers. The contract has a not-to-exceed value of $50.9m.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control M-TADS / PNVS director Matt Hoffman said: "We are currently fielding laser kits as part of the M-DSA Phase I upgrade and are on track to equip approximately seven Apache battalions a year."

M-DSA is an upgrade to the Apache’s targeting and pilotage system, known as modernised target acquisition designation sight / pilot night vision sensor (M-TADS / PNVS).

"We are currently fielding laser kits as part of the M-DSA Phase I upgrade."

M-LRFD is the principal targeting aid for the Apache, facilitating pilots to designate targets and establish target range for precise weapon engagement.

The company has already qualified M-DSA Phase II upgrades and is ready to advance towards production. The upgrades are expected to enable Apache pilots to view high-resolution, near infrared and colour imagery on cockpit displays.

The Phase II upgrades also include addition of a new laser pointer marker and a multi-mode laser with eye-safe lasing capability, which in turn will allow for better coordination with ground troops and safe flight in urban environments and during training exercises.

Lockheed has so far handed over more than 200 M-DSA kits to the US Army.

Image: A US Army’s AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter in flight. Photo: courtesy of US Army by Tech Sgt Andy Dunaway.