When coupled with the Apache’s unique system of sensors approach, Longbow Fire Control Radar gives aircrews the capability to scan large areas at long ranges to identify threats and targets for prosecution with a low probability of being detected.
The US Army recently awarded LONGBOW Limited Liability Company (LBL), a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman Corporation, four Foreign Military Sales contracts to provide the AH-64E Apache helicopter AN/APG-78 LONGBOW Fire Control Radar (FCR) to Morocco, Netherlands, UAE and India Army.
“The LBL team is excited to bring Morocco, Netherlands and India Army into the LONGBOW FCR user community, and to update UAE with new capabilities, as the ever-evolving missions of our U.S. allies will benefit from our precision engagement capabilities,” said Jim Messina, LBL president and Lockheed Martin program director, in the company news release. “The LONGBOW radar remains a relevant and important system for the missions Apache aircrews fly.”
The addition of Morocco, the Netherlands and India Army expands the LONGBOW customer base to include 16 foreign militaries and 14 nations. UAE is updating from the AH-64D to the AH-64E aircraft. These contracts are a direct result of the five-year production requirements contract the US Department of Defense awarded to LBL in 2016.
“As LONGBOW Joint Venture marks 35 years of successful partnership, the addition of these customers is a testament to the deep experience and dedication the team brings to advance the FCR system to support our customer’s missions,” said Shalini Gupta, LBL vice president and Northrop Grumman director for LONGBOW programs.
When coupled with the Apache’s unique system of sensors approach, LONGBOW FCR gives aircrews the capability to scan large areas at long ranges to identify threats and targets for prosecution with a low probability of being detected. If a target is identified, the data can be handed off to a missile and launch system, or if a target needs further identification and classification, the data is handed off to the Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight (M-TADS) system for increased visual identification.
LBL is now providing increased FCR capabilities with the Apache AH-64E Version 6 helicopter. Version 6 FCR software enhancements provide new operational modes and capabilities, including maritime, single target track, and 360-degree surveillance mode, as well as extended detection range against land, air and sea targets.
The AH-64E Guardian is the most advanced variant of the Apache helicopter and features improved digital connectivity, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS), more powerful T700-GE-701D engines with upgraded face gear transmission to accommodate more power, capability to control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), full IFR capability, and improved landing gear. New composite rotor blades, which successfully completed testing in 2004, increase cruise speed, climb rate, and payload capacity. Deliveries began in November 2011. Full-rate production was approved on Oct. 24, 2012, with 634 AH-64Ds to be upgraded to AH-64E standard and production of 56 new-build AH-64Es to start in 2019/20. Changes in production lots 4 through 6 shall include a cognitive decision aiding system and new self-diagnostic abilities.
Photo credit: US Army