ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Two battalions of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters are receiving near infrared sensors from U.S. company Lockheed Martin under a $15 million production contract.
The contract for 65 low-light-level TV capability units, or VNsights, includes spares and an initial quantity of cameras to equip a Foreign Military Sales customer.
"The VNsight camera upgrade represents a mission enhancing capability improvement for the Lockheed Martin produced Apache sensor," said Monty Watson, VNsight program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "VNsight provides an increase in pilot situational awareness, flight safety and mission flexibility."
Lockheed said that by blending VNsight imagery with the Apache's Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor's forward looking infrared imagery, pilots can see cultural and military lighting -- lasers, markers, beacons, tracer rounds, etc. -- accurately registered within the thermal image over the full 30-by-40 degree field of view of the sensor.
This ensures safer flying conditions and enhanced mission capability by improving situational awareness in low-light-level conditions and situations where existing light sources cannot be imaged by the FLIR.