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The U.S. Army has reported that its first operational unit has received the latest version of the Apache attack helicopter. This new version of the Apache is an enhanced weapon and sensor platform and a vital link between the Army’s ground forces and manned and unmanned aircraft. The upgrades allow for improved quality of training and operation on the battlefield.
The AH-64E version 6 (V6) Apache helicopter is equipped with an open systems design including the latest communications, navigation, sensor and weapon systems. The model has multiple upgrades with the improved Lockheed-Martin Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision System (MTADS/PNVS), which includes a new integrated infrared laser for easier target designation and enhanced infrared imagery capabilities.
The GEN3 Day Sensor Assembly (GEN3 DSA) doubles the sensor’s field of view and increases resolution. The addition of color imagery improves target detection and identification.
The V6 also has Link 16 communications, which allows the Apache to switch network connections on the spot, and merge different networks for an operational picture. This results in the delivery of real-time situational awareness to the cockpit. The software also supports the exchange of text messages, imagery data and provides two channels of digital voice.
Crewmembers can receive Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) video in the cockpit, control UAS sensors and direct the flight path of the UAS. They can also share real-time situational awareness of the operational environment and enemy forces to Soldiers on the ground.
The Longbow radar updates adapted the capabilities to naval activities, allowing the radar to track vessels while also doubling Longbow’s detection range. The V6 software also has the ability to track small unmanned aircraft, turning the aircraft into a lethal counter-UAS platform.
Manned-Unmanned Teaming E\eXpanded (MUMT-X) software installed in the aircraft allows its pilots to directly control Army UAS, according to defence-blog.com.