Team Apache Sensors, including the U.S. Army’s Apache Attack Helicopter Project Management Office and Aviation Flight Test Directorate and Lockheed Martin, conducted a test flight of the Apache AH-64E Modernized Day Sensor Assembly during an event at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., Feb. 18.
The test flight demonstrated the maturity of M-DSA and the enhanced capabilities it brings to the Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS), the precision targeting and pilotage system for the AH-64D/E Apache helicopter.
“We are looking forward to the reliability and maintainability improvements that this laser will bring to the M-TADS system,” said Lt. Col. Steven Van Riper, Apache Sensors product manager. “This system will help to further reduce the burden on our aircrews, as they will be able to reap the benefits of the performance improvements.”
M-DSA increases M-TADS/PNVS designation and ranging capabilities to fully accommodate current weapons and those planned for the future. The upgraded sensor enables Apache pilots to see high-resolution, high-definition near infrared and color imagery on cockpit displays. An additional field of view allows image blending with the M-TADS forward-looking infrared, and enables pilots to see civilian and military lighting on a single display more clearly. M-DSA also provides a new laser pointer marker that improves coordination with ground troops and an updated multi-mode laser with eye-safe lasing capability that supports flight in urban environments and critical training exercises.
“M-DSA completes the modernization of the M-TADS/PNVS,” said Matt Hoffman, M-TADS/PNVS director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The new capabilities provided by M-DSA, such as color in the cockpit and an enhanced laser pointer marker, will support rapid target identification and coordination, as well as improve safety and system reliability for U.S. Army Apache aircrews.”
Lockheed Martin, the Apache Project Office and the Army Flight Test Directorate will spend the next few months validating M-DSA capabilities at Redstone Arsenal and Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz.
Fielded in 2005, the M-TADS/PNVS system provides Apache attack helicopter pilots with long-range, precision engagement and pilotage capabilities for mission success and flight safety in day, night and adverse weather missions. Forward-looking infrared sensors provide enhanced image resolution that enable Apache aircrews to query targets and provide situational awareness in support of ground troops outside detection ranges. Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 1,200 M-TADS/PNVS systems to the U.S. Army and international customers.