LONGBOW LLC, a joint venture of Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, has announced the successful completion of the US Army’s AH-64E Apache follow-on test and evaluation (FOT&E) for the AN/APG-78 LONGBOW fire-control radar (FCR).
CAPTION: AH-64E Apache fitted with AN/APG-78 LONGBOW fire-control radar – doubled the helicopter’s range without hardware changes. Photo supplied.
During the FOT&E, the modernised LONGBOW FCR successfully demonstrated many new operational modes and capabilities, including maritime, single-target track and 360-degree surveillance mode, as well as extended detection range against land, air and sea targets – with detection range actually doubled and improved detection of unmanned aerial vehicles.
LONGBOW LLC vice president and vice president at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems Susan Bruce said the open systems architecture approach allowed the company to unlock phenomenal performance without any hardware changes.
“Version six is a major update to LONGBOW’s capabilities providing significant situational awareness and targeting capabilities to the warfighter,” she said.
“Validating these performance enhancements during FOT&E, the LONGBOW radar successfully detected numerous ground and maritime targets at extended detection ranges.
“Those targets were then engaged and destroyed by AGM-179 Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles fired from the Apache helicopter.”
LBL JV president and program director at Lockheed Martin Jim Messina said LONGBOW’s version 6 software helped increase survivability of the AH-64E aircrews, reduced their workload and enhanced stand-off range.
“The LONGBOW radar provides Apache aircrews with automatic target detection, location, classification and prioritisation, while enabling rapid, multi-target engagement in all weather conditions, over multiple types of terrain and through battlefield obstacles,” Mr Messina said.
To date, nearly 500 LONGBOW FCR systems have been delivered to the US Army in 12 nations.
Australia is looking for a suitable off-the-shelf replacement for Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters, with Apache firmly in ‘crowd favourite’ contention.