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Longbow Fire Control Radar Block III Passes Testing Milestone

6th October 2009 - 17:05 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


The new Longbow Fire Control Radar Block III system hardware and operational software successfully completed the first half of initial flight tests on an AH-64D Apache attack helicopter.

The US Army conducted the tests at the Yuma Proving Grounds in southern Arizona. The new system is being developed by Longbow Limited Liability Company (LLC), a joint venture of Northrop Grumman Corporation and Lockheed Martin Corporation.

The flight test evaluated systems designed by Northrop Grumman, including the radar mode responsible to identify and classify moving and non-moving armored vehicular targets. These stationary and moving target detection and targeting radar modes have been cleared for the next phase of flight testing later this fall by a US Army field evaluation team. The remaining flight test modes, scheduled through September 2009, focused on air surveillance and terrain mapping modes, which are designed by Lockheed Martin.

"The Longbow Block III design removes over 80 pounds of system weight while significantly increasing the reliability and maintainability of the Longbow radar in the AH-64D Apache Attack Helicopter," said Steve Considine, Longbow LLC vice president and director of Longbow Aviation programs at Northrop Grumman's Land Forces Division. "This initial testing demonstrates to our customer community the viability of this technology update while mitigating program risk."

"We are pleased to have reached this milestone," said Jerome Garman, president of Longbow Limited Liability Company and director of Longbow programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "The Army test program for the overall Apache Block III has numerous goals; getting the Longbow radar through this testing allows them to focus on the next phase and fielding to our warfighters."

The Longbow Fire Control Radar (FCR) system enables the Apache Longbow to rapidly search, detect, locate, classify, prioritize and engage both moving and stationary targets. The Longbow system, as currently configured by the US 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-64D Apache helicopter. The Army plans to upgrade the entire Apache helicopter fleet to the Block III configuration.

The $140 million Longbow Block III development program was awarded to the Longbow LLC in 2005. The first test units were delivered to the US Army in October 2008 with production deliveries scheduled to begin in 2011. Initial operational capability is planned for 2012.

The Shephard News Team


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