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Lockheed Martin delivers first VNsight sensor to US Army

6th July 2011 - 16:50 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Lockheed Martin recently delivered the first VNsight production unit for the US Army's Apache Attack Helicopter, which adds a low-light-level display capability to the AH-64D Apache's combat-proven Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS), or Arrowhead, system.

The VNsight visible/near infrared sensor provides the warfighter with significant tactical advantages and increased situational awareness, particularly in low-light-level conditions. The VNsight sensor is integrated into the Modernized PNVS, the pilotage system for the Apache.

"VNsight gives the Apache fleet a new and improved warfighting capability," said Lt. Col. John Vannoy, US Army product manager for Apache Sensors. "While the primary purpose of the VNsight camera is for image-blending with the M-PNVS forward-looking infrared (FLIR), the VNsight camera technology permits pilots to see cultural lighting, tracers and some ground lasers. Not only is this an enhancement in our warfighting capabilities, but it also significantly improves pilot safety."

By blending VNsight imagery with the M-PNVS FLIR imagery, pilots can accurately see and identify cultural and military lighting, including lasers, markers, beacons and tracer rounds. This ensures safer flying conditions and enhanced mission capability by improving situational awareness in low-light-level conditions and situations where existing light sources cannot be imaged by the FLIR.

"The VNsight sensor gives the aircrew the capability to see their own laser while designating targets for laser-guided munition engagements, providing an extra level of certainty that the correct target and aim-point are designated," said Monty Watson, programme manager for Apache fire control at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "Enhanced air-to-ground situational awareness reduces the potential for fratricide. The VNsight first unit delivery is a significant milestone for bringing a much-needed capability to the warfighter."

The VNsight Lot 1 production contract includes sensors and spares to equip two US Apache battalions and an international customer. Delivering the first unit on schedule establishes the start of a production line capable of producing eight VNsight units per month. With production options for up to ten US Army battalions spanning into 2015, the VNsight production line will continue to provide a valuable asset to AH-64D pilots.

Source: Lockheed Martin

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