Apache DOS

Intevac Photonics has secured a contract to manufacture and supply night vision cameras for installation onboard the US Army’s AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.

The cameras supplied under the $13m contract will support the Apache helicopter’s pilot night vision sensor (PNVS) programme.

Awarded by the army’s PM Apache Office in Huntsville, Alabama, the contract is a follow-on contract to the $27m contract announced in 2013. The army has also accepted an additional $11m in options for more night vision cameras and support.

The electronic image intensification camera will be based on the company’s patented electron bombarded active pixel sensor (EBAPS) digital imaging sensor for extreme low-light level detection.

Intevac Photonics executive vice-president and general manager Drew Brugal said: "This contract award demonstrates Intevac’s ongoing commitment to deliver EBAPS-based cameras for key US Military platforms and applications.

"Since becoming a Prime supplier in 2013, Intevac’s success in fielding cameras to the US Army played a significant role in winning this business."

EBAPS technology is based on a photocathode derived from a Generation-III image intensifier in proximity-focus with a high-resolution, backside-thinned, CMOS chip anode.

Electrons emitted by the photocathode are directly injected in the electron bombarded mode into the CMOS anode, where they are collected, amplified, and read-out to produce digital video directly out of the sensor.

"This contract award demonstrates Intevac’s ongoing commitment to deliver EBAPS-based cameras for key US Military platforms."

The technology is currently being used in the development of advanced digital sensors and systems for applications, including military night vision, weapon sights, surveillance, and precision targeting.

Camera deliveries are scheduled to take place through February 2017.

Powered by two GE T700-701D engines, AH-64 Apache is primarily used for distributed operations, deep precision strikes against relocatable targets, as well as for providing armed reconnaissance when required in day, night, obscured battlefield, and adverse weather conditions.

The Boeing-built helicopters are in service with the armed forces of the US, the UK, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Greece, Kuwait, Egypt and UAE.

Image: An A64-D Apache attack helicopter in flight. Photo: courtesy of Andre Engel.