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Lockheed Martin Will Upgrade Apaches

by Matt Cox on February 14, 2013

The U.S. Army has awarded Lockheed Martin two contracts, worth $161.7 million, to upgrade the targeting and night vision systems on the AH-64 Apache helicopter.

The contracts will upgrade the Apache’s Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor, according to a Lockheed Martin release.

The deal includes 482 Modernized Day Sensor Assembly (M-DSA) Modernized Laser Rangefinder Designator kits (M-LRFD) and spares. The Army ordered 92 of these kits and spares in February 2012, and the first of those units will be delivered in early 2013.

“These two production lots represent our continued confidence in Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control to provide a high performing, high quality, reliable LRFD for the AH-64D/E,” said Lt. Col. Steve Van Riper, U.S. Army product manager of Apache Sensors. “We look forward to our first delivery and subsequent fielding of this capability.”

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Lance February 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm

A Army upgrade long needed hope more pics of the AH-64E. Looks good hope it loses the dumb radar dome that the D had.


Guest February 14, 2013 at 4:39 pm

You can hope, but will be disappointed. E retains the antenna fairing, to protect an FCR or UAV TCDL antenna, on most of the airframes.


blight_ February 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Coulda sworn the only way to get new technology into the field was to build a whole new vehicle around it! /sarc


Ron February 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Long may you run Apache!


blight_ February 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm

The release from lockmart:

"Modernized Day Sensor Assembly (M-DSA) completes the modernization of the Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) system, also
known as Arrowhead®"


tiger February 14, 2013 at 4:55 pm

How come there is no Apache hate club? As a program it has more of a reputation as a hanger queen than battlefield game changer. Yet here they are throwing another $161 million in "upgrades" at it.


crackedlenses February 14, 2013 at 5:36 pm

"How come there is no Apache hate club?"

Uh, perhaps because it is a lethal attack helicopter?

"As a program it has more of a reputation as a hanger queen than battlefield game changer."

Uh, perhaps because it was built for wiping out armored battalions, and we ran out of those years ago?

Your point again?


tee February 14, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Hanger Queen??, Ya Right, ask the ground troops in Afghanistan that it does CAS for how they like it. The Apache & A-10 are the most requested platforms in the theater.


I'm in A-Stan February 15, 2013 at 6:00 am

So, when was the last time you served in OIF/OEF, you armchair couch potato? I know battalions of infantry that would love to dispute your comment.


scott April 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm

lol agreed


Mark February 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm
tee February 14, 2013 at 7:02 pm

I sure hope the up-grade includes the ability to use the New Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) by BAE. That would allow the Apache to carry 8 Hellfires & 38 APKWS's for a total of 46 Precision Guided Weapons plus the gun, Nice !!!


JEFF February 15, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I thought the apache was limited to the weight it could carry, especially in hot/high environments?


Guest February 16, 2013 at 8:47 am

Laser guided rockets is an entirely separate program, and one that the Army keeps backing off from. The field cant give up its obsession with unguided rockets. The Navy and Marines seem interested though.


tee February 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm

You are right, the Marines have been using them in Afghanistan with tremendous success. If the Army doesn't use the new APKWS rockets then the Marines with the Cobra Z will have the most heavily armed Attack copter in the US inventory. Because it will be able to field 8 Hellfires & 38 APKWS's for a total of 46 Precision Guided Weapons plus 2 Sidewinders for Air to Air and the 20mm gun.


Mark February 17, 2013 at 12:34 am

It's all about the money. It would be great to have guided rockets but the Army is not going to spend the money on them right now. Though, if you think about it, one laser guided rocket to take out one bad guy is better than using an $80,000 missile.


jeff February 14, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Nice to see a DoD program actually living up to all the hype and not an endless money pit like the JSF, LCS, ABL, ect.


maddawg77 February 25, 2013 at 5:25 am

The JSF another Lockheed Martin Money pit. If Something will go wrong than you got the right company overruns and fix prices don't mean nothing to Lockheed as long as they get $$$$.


charles February 14, 2013 at 7:14 pm

tiger – u obviously have spent no time in Iraq or Afgan.


Noha307 February 15, 2013 at 9:26 am

And you obviously have spent no time in school.


tee February 14, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I know this site won't post "Negative" new on the Junk Strike Fighter, So here is the latest from the Dutch as of 2/14/13 "JSF Jet Does Not Fit In Revised Dutch Defence Strategy, Says Institute ". I see another Gripen NG contract coming soon, because all three Scandinavian countries usually get a lot of the same type equipment because of their operational agreements,


Thomas L. Nielsen February 15, 2013 at 3:31 am

News Flash: The Netherlands is not a Scandinavian country.

And even ignoring the geography fail, how is any of this relevant to the upgrade of the Apache? You know, the actual subject being discussed here?

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg (expat Dane)


Kole February 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm

I hate to be cynical, but why does Lockheed Martin win Apache contracts when the damn F-22 OBOGS is still causing issues? (That have KILLED pilots)


tmb2 February 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

In case you're not tracking, Lockheed Martin is HUGE. The aircraft department, weapons department, and ground vehicles department operate independently of each other. They're practically different companies. In fact in many cases they actually are products of previous companies that Lockheed bought up over the years. It wouldn't surprise me if the guys working on the Apache's targeting systems have never met the F-22 designers.


Musson February 15, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Maybe we should arrange an introduction.


Kole February 15, 2013 at 8:26 pm

I know Lockheed Martin is huge, it's more of an ethics thing to me. Our people who serve depend on these systems, and neglecting an entire issue on one end of the spectrum should have consequences on all fronts. If you were to do business with someone who does half of what you want done, I'd guarantee they would get a nice firing. Lock-Mart should not be different.


stephen russell February 14, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Cant we have a Naval version of the Apache for the MC use alone??


Beno February 15, 2013 at 4:01 am

Buy the British version WAH-64

Folding Blades, Marinised hull ( somewhat )
Upgraded Engins
And soon to be upgraded Radar for Marine environment.

( See MHS Ocean Libya )


UH34D February 15, 2013 at 9:35 am

Beno…Good point. I also have this from Army Apache pilots; why does the British Apache used in A'stan have a larger combat load than the American Apache's? I think I know the answer, the Rolls engine in the British version, but it just bugs the heck out of me to know our men have to carry less ammo for their gun as an example due to less lift capability. If it's the engine, why can't GE build an one that compares to the Rolls? Also wondering if our Apache has gear on it that's not really needed in a place like A'stan and is wasted weight?


blight_ February 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Buy American, luuuuul.

We have Rolls engines for the LCS, the Zumwalt, the Harrier and JSF-B.


Guest February 15, 2013 at 6:12 pm

The Brit sector is at lower elevations, which allow a greater power margin than the US units that fly way up in the mountains.


Mark February 17, 2013 at 12:35 am

The Echo model will solve your concerns. This time it really is an ALL WEATHER attack aircraft.


Mike February 20, 2013 at 11:09 pm
tmb2 February 15, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Stephen, the Corps is quite happy with the AH-1. They've been using it for decades and keep upgrading it. It's also a bit skinnier than the Apache and deck space is always a factor for them.


Gues February 17, 2013 at 3:01 pm

The new AH-1Z is basically an entirely new aircraft, so there's no real need for a Marine Corps Apache


Maddawg77 February 25, 2013 at 5:28 am

That would be too easy since the Marines Buy on the cheap and try to strech it out a long time, But the AH-64 would be a great fit for the forward Marines!


Jack February 14, 2013 at 10:34 pm

The naval version of the Apache is the Apache. We've been doing a lot more overwater time and landing on ships of late.


Guest February 15, 2013 at 6:13 pm

The E is shipboard compliant, the D is not.


maj10113 February 15, 2013 at 10:45 am

they really shouldn't if they ever want the upgrades……


Barry February 15, 2013 at 2:26 pm

This is what the MC needs for CAS. A lot more capability per $ than the F35B


51yanks February 21, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Apaches have done a fine job given the challenging environment and terrain of Afghanistan. Heavy cross winds at high altitudes in mountain passes where Black Hawks and even Chinooks have difficulty maintaining level flight at times plus the sand, extremes of heat and cold. Hope the ground crews in AFGN get to use the new targeting system and evaluate its capabilities and new maintenance tweaks in record time.


george February 22, 2013 at 10:38 am
george February 22, 2013 at 10:40 am
SFP May 23, 2013 at 2:28 am

I hate to be cynical, but why does Lockheed Martin win Apache contracts when the damn F-22 OBOGS is still causing issues? (That have KILLED pilots)


bigdaddy February 14, 2013 at 7:14 pm

@Tiger, when you come on a web site and make claims like that I recommend you have at least one or two credible sources to back up your opinion. Or you could say from YOUR OWN personal experience as an Apache aviator or mechanic this was the case. To come here and make statements like that even if they are true without any corroboration makes you look like an idiot.


ziv February 14, 2013 at 10:35 pm

At what range are these Apaches engaging? It must be from way the hell and gone back, because those Talibs don't seem to hear anything, and the delays are way noticeable and the accuracy is probably a function of the distance involved.


William_C1 February 15, 2013 at 12:51 am

From what I've read the M230 is quite accurate at ranges of 2000 meters or under but you're still dealing with a lot of movement from the helicopter which means a good amount of dispersion.


tmb2 February 15, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Compared to most helicopters, the Apache is very quiet.


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