ORLANDO, Fla., March 11 (UPI) -- The targeting and piloting system aboard U.S. Army AH-64 Apache helicopters are to be upgraded by Lockheed Martin under a $14 million contract.
Under the award, Lockheed with design, integrate and qualify a high reliability turret for the aircraft's modernized target acquisition designation Sight/pilot night vision sensor, or M-TADS/PNVS. The high reliability turret is the interface between the M-TADS/PNVS and the Apache airframe and improves target track performance and minimizes the effects of aircraft vibration on the system.
Lockheed said the high reliability turret also improves M-TADS/PNVS maintainability and reduces operations and support costs of the existing turret assembly.
"This investment, enabled by the Army Working Capital Fund and the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Command, allows us to eliminate several looming obsolescence risks while providing improved capability to our soldiers," said Lt. Col. Steven Van Riper, U.S. Army product manager for Apache Sensors. "The non-recurring engineering activities included in this contract set the conditions for follow-on production and fielding of the new turret."
The contract, with options, runs through next year. If options are exercised, the total value would be about $38 million.
"The new turret design will improve system maintainability while providing a more stable and capable foundation for future system enhancements," said Matt Hoffman, M-TADS/PNVS program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "This modification is an affordable solution that will ensure M-TADS/PNVS remains the world's most advanced electro-optical precision engagement system for the Apache attack helicopter."