First successful powered flight of the Longbow Fire Control Radar Electronics Unit configuration on an Apache Block III prototype helicopter achieved
The Longbow Limited Liability Company, a joint venture of Northrop Grumman Corporation and Lockheed Martin recently marked the first successful powered flight of the Radar Electronics Unit (REU) configuration of the Longbow Fire Control Radar (FCR) onboard an AH-64D Apache Block III prototype attack helicopter.
The Longbow Fire Control Radar system enables the Apache Longbow to rapidly search, detect, locate, classify, prioritize and engage both moving and stationary targets. The advanced REU improves power ratios and provides built-in processor expansion growth for new operating modes that will expand the Apache's role and missions.
The REU is a key capability that will be integrated on all Apache Block III aircraft. One of its design features is that it may be installed to operate on Apache Block I or Block II aircraft with appropriate modifications, in addition to the Block III aircraft.
"The Longbow REU configuration is a significant capability advancement for the Longbow Apache AH-64D, the most versatile attack helicopter in the world," said Steve Considine, Longbow LLC vice-president and director of Longbow Aviation Programs at Northrop Grumman's Land Forces Division.
"The REU's design preserves the two-level maintenance concept, lowers operations and supportability costs and improves reliability three fold, all while reducing the size and weight of the radar electronics on the Apache by half."
The Longbow system, as currently configured by the U.S. Army, consists of: the Longbow fire control radar; the AGM-114L fire-and-forget radar frequency Longbow Hellfire millimeter wave-guided missile, the all-digital M299 launcher and the AN/APR-48A Radio Frequency Interferometer for the AH-64 Apache helicopter.
The Longbow REU configuration will be fielded on the Apache Block III aircraft beginning in 2011.
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