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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Boeing to upgrade AH-64 attack helicopter avionics

Posted by John Keller

U.S. Army helicopter experts are looking to the Boeing Co. Defense, Space & Security segment in Mesa, Ariz., to convert 72 AH-64A Apache attack helicopters to the AH-64D Apache Longbow version by inserting digital communications, glass cockpit, sensor suite, and millimeter-wave fire control radar target acquisition avionics upgrades under terms of a $190.2 million contract announced Friday.

The contract includes one Longbow crew trainer. Electronics upgrades to convert the AH-64A versions to the AH-64D Longbow gives the attack helicopters the ability to communicate digitally with other aircraft and ground forces, and to share that information almost instantly.

The raised position of the radome of the AN/APG-78 Longbow millimeter-wave fire control radar target acquisition system and the radar frequency interferometer installed over the Apache's main rotor enables detection and launching of missiles at targets when the helicopter is hidden by terrain, trees, or buildings.

A radio modem integrated with the sensor suite enables a AH-64D to share targeting data with other Apache Longbow helicopters, and helps groups of these attack helicopters to attack targets and fight as teams.

Boeing will do the work in Mesa, Ariz., and should be finished by spring 2014. Awarding the contract were officials of the Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command (AMCOM) at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.

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AH64 Apache compilation

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