U.S. Army building first Block III Apache Attack Helicopter

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Someoneforyou, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. Someoneforyou

    Someoneforyou Regular Member

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    UNITED STATES - 6 APRIL 2011

    ARLINGTON, Va. -- The U.S. Army has begun construction on the first fuselage of its next-generation AH-64 Block III Apache helicopter.

    The new attack helicopter will be built with a stronger engine, improved avionics, better computer networking capability and increased maneuverability when compared with current models, service officials said.

    The first Block III aircraft will roll off the production line this fall, said Lt. Col. Dan Bailey, product manager for the program. The first two aircraft will be used for developmental purposes, and the next five after that will be used to train the first unit equipped, he said.

    The Apache Block III aircraft will begin to be fielded with units by the end of 2012, Bailey said.

    Overall, the Army plans to acquire 690 Block III Apaches between now and 2026 at a production rate of roughly two battalions per year, beginning in fiscal year 2013. Of this amount, 643 will be re-manufactured aircraft and 56 will be "new builds," Bailey explained.

    As part of its preparation of the Block III Apache, the program completed a "logistics demonstration" in March designed to show that the aircraft will be maintainable once fielded. The demonstration checked on the avionics, wiring, gear boxes, cockpit seat and electronics, among other things.

    "We walked through all of these tasks to find the issues and things that needed to be fixed. This demonstrates that the aircraft will be sustainable and maintainable in the future, thus easing the burden on the warfighter," Bailey said.

    "We thought we would need a full three months for this, but we finished three weeks early and found that only two percent of the overall tasks needed refinement."

    The Block III Apache features a 701D engine, composite rotor blades, improved networking and communications avionics, and an Improved Drive System of the 21st Century -- known as IDS-21 -- Face Gear Transmission.

    "The new 701D engine has a significant increase in reliability based on new coating, new metal and increased airflow which allows it to operate at higher temperatures," Bailey said.
     
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  3. Someoneforyou

    Someoneforyou Regular Member

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    ATK Awarded $49.9 M to Produce LW30 M789 HEDP Ammunition
    UNITED STATES - 13 april 2011

    Light Weight 30mm HEDP Rounds Offer Superior Armor Penetration

    Minneapolis - ATK (NYSE: ATK) has been awarded a $49.9 million contract option from the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., to produce Light Weight (LW) 30mm M789 High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) ammunition.

    The M789 round is fired by ATK's M230 Chain Gun(r), in use on the U.S. Army's AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopters. Delivery of the optioned rounds is set to begin in September 2012, with production taking place in the company's facilities in Radford, Va. and Rocket Center, W.Va.

    "The dual-purpose M789 round provides the firepower necessary to penetrate armor while maintaining its high-explosive capability for use against soft targets," said Dan Olson, Vice President and General Manager, ATK Integrated Weapon Systems. "This versatility has made it a highly-effective combat round, and it is currently supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan."


    File Photo: M789 HEDP 30 mm rounds being loaded into an AH-64D Longbow Apache.
    [​IMG]


    Source: Alliant Tech Systems, Inc
     
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  4. Someoneforyou

    Someoneforyou Regular Member

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    Lockheed Martin Delivers First VNsight Sensor to the U.S. Army
    UNITED STATES - 6 JULY 2011

    U.S. Army’s Apache Attack Helicopter, which adds a low-light-level display capability to the AH-64D Apache’s combat-proven Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS), or Arrowhead®, system.

    The VNsight visible/near infrared sensor provides the warfighter with significant tactical advantages and increased situational awareness, particularly in low-light-level conditions. The VNsight sensor is integrated into the Modernized PNVS, the pilotage system for the Apache.

    “VNsight gives the Apache fleet a new and improved warfighting capability,” said Lt. Col. John Vannoy, U.S. Army product manager for Apache Sensors. “While the primary purpose of the VNsight camera is for image-blending with the M-PNVS forward-looking infrared (FLIR), the VNsight camera technology permits pilots to see cultural lighting, tracers and some ground lasers. Not only is this an enhancement in our warfighting capabilities, but it also significantly improves pilot safety.”

    By blending VNsight imagery with the M-PNVS FLIR imagery, pilots can accurately see and identify cultural and military lighting, including lasers, markers, beacons and tracer rounds. 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.

    “The VNsight sensor gives the aircrew the capability to see their own laser while designating targets for laser-guided munition engagements, providing an extra level of certainty that the correct target and aim-point are designated,” said Monty Watson, program manager for Apache fire control at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Enhanced air-to-ground situational awareness reduces the potential for fratricide. The VNsight first unit delivery is a significant milestone for bringing a much-needed capability to the warfighter.”

    The VNsight Lot 1 production contract includes sensors and spares to equip two U.S. Apache battalions and an international customer. Delivering the first unit on schedule establishes the start of a production line capable of producing eight VNsight units per month. With production options for up to ten U.S. Army battalions spanning into 2015, the VNsight production line will continue to provide a valuable asset to AH-64D pilots.



    Source: Lockheed Martin
     
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  5. Someoneforyou

    Someoneforyou Regular Member

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    U.S. Army Awards Lockheed Martin $60 Million M-TADS/PNVS Production Contract
    UNITED STATES - 1 AUGUST 2011

    ORLANDO, FL, August 1st, 2011 -- The U.S. Army recently awarded Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] a $60 million follow-on production contract for the combat-proven Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS), also known as Arrowhead®, for the AH-64D Apache attack helicopter.

    The $60 million Lot 8 base contract includes 23 Arrowhead kits for the National Guard, plus U.S. Government and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) spares and support. The contract also includes options for up to 46 systems and spares for delivery to the U.S. Army and an undisclosed FMS customer. Total contract value including the base and all options, if awarded, could reach approximately $290 million. The Lot 8 contract extends production through August 2013 for the base requirements, and January 2015 if all options are awarded.

    “Lot 8 represents our continued successful partnership with Lockheed Martin and will provide the Arrowhead upgrades that will complement the conversion of our National Guard Apache battalions from the AH-64A to the AH-64D Longbow,” said Lt. Col. Steve Van Riper, U.S. Army Apache Sensors product manager. “These Arrowhead systems will provide AH-64D aviators with a combat-proven sensor capability required to support our soldiers and international allies around the world.”

    The Arrowhead kit modernizes the U.S. Army’s TADS/PNVS, known as the “eyes of the Apache,” by upgrading the infrared sensors and associated electronics. Arrowhead provides Apache pilots the most advanced long-range, electro-optical precision engagement and pilotage capabilities, ensuring safe flight during day, night and adverse-weather missions.

    “The highly reliable Arrowhead system saves lives,” said Matt Hoffman, Arrowhead program director in Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control business. “Arrowhead has demonstrated operational performance second to none, and this contract reflects the confidence our customers have in this low maintenance, highly mission capable system for the Apache.”

    Lockheed Martin rolled out the first Arrowhead kit to the U.S. Army in May 2005, and completed integration on the first Apache helicopters in June 2005.


    ***Arrowhead***

    Arrowhead is the advanced electro-optical fire control system that Apache helicopter pilots use for safe flight in day, night, or bad weather missions. It is the U.S. Army's Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) system that is leading edge in its design. M-TADS/PNVS advanced technology improves system performance by over 150 percent. Reliability increases more than 150 percent while maintenance actions decrease approximately 60 percent. Streamlining field maintenance from three to two levels saves nearly $1 billion in operation and support costs over the 20-year life of the system.

    M-TADS/PNVS modular architecture accommodates a field-retrofit from TADS/PNVS to the new configuration on the Apache AH-64D. Almost 800 systems will have been delivered at the completion of the current Lot 5 contract, which extends production through December 2010.

    A Performance Based Logistics (PBL) contract was initiated in 2007 for TADS/PNVS and M-TADS/PNVS systems. The PBL contract provides complete post-production supply chain management, including spares planning, procurement, repairs, maintenance, modifications and inventory management of fielded systems.

    An update to the TADS/PNVS Day Sensor Assembly (M-DSA) is in development. M-DSA modernizes the entire DSA system to enhance performance and address obsolescence, as well as to increase the system’s ability to fully accommodate weapons now in production.

    VNsight is a low-light-level TV integrated into the AH-64D Apache Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-PNVS) and Pathfinder dedicated pilotage sensor (the M-PNVS adapted for cargo and utility aircraft). The additional imaging capability in this wavelength complements the long wave infrared wavelength of the existing M-PNVS sensor and provides the Warfighter with significant tactical advantages. VNsight is currently in limited production.


    The Arrowhead modular design melds existing legacy hardware with new FLIR sensors to fight decisively during day, night, or adverse-weather missions … regardless of battlefield obscurants.
    [​IMG]


    With these Arrowhead features - the advanced FLIR targeting and navigation sensors, new TEDAC flat-panel display, and multi-target tracker - Apache pilots who used to fight to see, can now see to fight.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Source: Lockheed Martin
     
  6. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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    F-35-Style Sensors Could Be Integrated Onto Apaches

    [​IMG]

    The future of helicopter tech will come in waves, according to one Army aviation official. As the Army fights to ensure funding for its effort to field a brand new class of choppers, known as joint multirole rotorcraft, some Army officials are hoping to advance the state of the art in chopper tech through gradual but significant upgrades to existing helicopters. This technology, once proven on existing birds, could reduce the cost and time required to build a brand new helo.

    One such example is how Col. Shane Openshaw, the Army’s AH-64 Apache program manager is eyeing F-35-style distributed aperture sensor (DAS) tech for use on the Apache. “We’re thinking about how to do integration” with DAS-style technology on the third development phase of the Block III Apache sometime later this decade, Openshaw told me after a Boeing luncheon this week. “It’s very much in the realm of the possible.”
    The F-35’s DAS system consists of six infrared cameras mounted in the airplane’s skin providing a 360-degree sphere of coverage around the jet. Video filmed by the cameras is fed directly onto a screen on the pilots helmet visor allowing him to literally look down through the bottom of his aircraft. Now, the system is still having its teething issues, especially the helmet part, but an F-35 flying over Maryland and Virginia recently tracked a missile launch in Florida by using its DAS system.

    Now, the Apaches may not necessarily use the same system as the F-35, but its the concept that Openshaw likes. The miniaturization of sensor tech could someday allow him to install a network of tiny but powerful sensors around the Apache’s airframe and feed their data back to the cockpit. He pointed out that this could allow him to remove the 400-pound sensor turret on the helo’s nose. The reduced weight would improve the aircraft’s speed and fuel and weapons load.

    Combine this with advancements in engine and blade tech that are already in the works — and possibly even pusher propellers mounted on the aft of the chopper — and modified versions of the basic Apache design could inch Army aviation ever closer to achieving the speed, altitude and maneuverability breakthroughs that the service wants from its next generation helo fleet, said Openshaw.

    He also pointed out that the choppers must have a truly open software system that allows the helos to accept a variety of small sensors ranging from infrared cameras to threat warning receivers and a variety of weapons and countermeasure systems that can all be installed on a ‘plug and play basis’ similar to a USB stick on a computer. (Raytheon is even working to build tiny but powerful Active Electronically Scanned Array radars that be embedded in an aircraft’s skin.) This would not only allow the choppers load to be customized for missions but would ensure that new technology could be quickly developed for and installed on the aircraft.

    http://defensetech.org/2012/01/13/f-35-style-sensors-could-be-integrated-onto-apaches/#more-16018
     
  7. Damian

    Damian Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    DAS on AH-64D? Interesting, and can be a really usefull thing... I can even imagine DAS usefullnes on ground and water platforms.
     

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