The Well-Equipped Apache: Longbows, Arrowheads & Hellfire
The AH-64 Apache is slated to remain the US Army’s attack helicopter for many years to come, and also serves with many other allied militaries around the world. While it is often thought of as a single entity, the helicopter is really an assembly of key systems, each of which needs ongoing purchases, maintenance, and upgrades in order to keep the attack helicopter fleet relevant and survivable. A recent trio of contracts that cover the helicopters’ targeting radars, targeting and viewing optics, and missiles amounting to $644.9 million drive this point home.
The Lockheed Martin/ Northrop-Grumman joint venture Longbow L.L.C. in Orlando, FL received a $125.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for production of 37 fire control radars for the AH-64D Apache helicopter. The “Longbow” radar can be found on the mast that sits above the helicopter’s rotor blades. Work will be performed in Orlando, FL and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2010. This was a sole source contract initiated on July 15, 2005 by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command in Huntsville, AL (W58RGZ-06-C-0134).
A subsequent August 8, 2006 release from Lockheed clarified the order: The USA is buying 7 radars as part of the 2005 Supplemental Buy authorized by Congress. The deliveries will begin in October 2008 and conclude in April 2009. The U.S. Government has an option to procure as many as six additional FCRs by July 1, 2006, and another option for additional procurement through December 31, 2006. The other 30 will go to the United Arab Emirates as part of an AH-64A to AH-64D Longbow upgrade and re-manufacture program.
Lockheed Martin in Orlando, FL received a $385.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for the modernized target acquisition designation sight/pilot’s night vision sensor for the Apache aircraft. The contract almost certainly refers to the Apache’s new Arrowhead system, an advanced electro-optical & fire control system that sits on the helicopter’s nose. It is used for combat targeting of Hellfire missiles and other weapons, as well as safe flight in day, night, or bad weather missions. It is the successor to TADS/PNVS. Work will be performed in Orlando, FL and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2010. This was a sole source contract initiated on Aug. 12, 2005 by the Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-06-C-0169).
The Lockheed/Northrop-Grumman joint venture Hellfire Systems LLC in Orlando, FL received a $133.9 modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for Hellfire II missiles in AGM-114K HEAT, AGM-114N metal augmented charge warhead, AGM-114M blast fragmentation warhead, and TGM-M36E4 training guided versions. Work will be performed in Orlando, FL and is expected to be complete by Aug. 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This was a sole source contract initiated on Feb. 1, 2006 by the Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-05-C-0221).