BOEING GIVES DETAILS ON APACHE UPGRADES AND LITTLE BIRD DURING AUSA
Feb. 22, 2005. Boeing gave BATTLESPACE an update on the upgrade program to the U.S. Army Apache fleet. Lessons learnt in Iraq have been included in the program, BATTLESPACE was told.
Lockheed Martin was awarded a $247m Lot 2 follow-on production contract for Arrowhead, TM the Army’s Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) system for the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. The contract was awarded by the U.S. Army Program Executive Office-Aviation January 26, and authorizes production of 97 Arrowhead systems for the U.S. Army and foreign military sales customers. The Lot 2 deliveries will begin in July 2006. The Army’s first unit equipped with Arrowhead will be fielded in June 2005. The U.S. Army intends to buy 704 Arrowhead systems to outfit its AH-64 Apache fleet by 2011.
Lockheed Martin’s Arrowhead provides a new electro-optical targeting and pilotage system to Apache crews that will maximize safe flight in day, night and adverse-weather environments, continuing a 20-year legacy of the Apache’s current TADS/PNVS first fielded in 1983. Arrowhead’s forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensors use advanced image processing techniques to give pilots the best possible resolution to avoid obstacles such as wires and tree limbs during low-level flight. The roll-out of the first Arrowhead system under the Lot 1 contract comes almost twenty five years to the day of signing the first TADS/PNVS production contract (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.7 ISSUE 7, 21st February 2005, Lockheed Martin awarded M-TADS/PNVS contract)
The new Apache will include a new engine, the GE 7101, composite rotorbaldes and an innovative transmission technology developed for rotorcraft applications including the Boeing (BA) AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter has successfully completed 60 hours of operational testing. This new transmission enables the engine to operate at full power and weight requirements, the upgtraded Apaches being some 15-2000 lbs heavier than previous models.
The new design creates more power without increasing the size of the transmission and can be applied to a variety of helicopter drive systems and used for future Army helicopter upgrades and for new helicopters.
Under the program, sponsored by the U.S. Army’s Applied Aviation Technology Directorate (AATD), a demonstration transmission will complete 400 hours of operation in a test stand to validate the new concepts. Tests are being conducted by Boeing and its key industry partner, Northstar Aerospace of Chicago, Ill.
“These tests will prove the product can fully utilize available engine power, leading to more efficient and more capable helicopters,” said Greg Heath, senior Boeing engineer leading the technical development effort.
The new rotorcraft transmission uses smaller, lighter-weight “face” gears that split the torque – or power – sent to the drive shaft. Traditional helicopter transmissions use a single pathway to power the aircraft’s rotor system. In the past increasing the power meant increasing the size of the transmission.
Boeing engineers are responsible for the design and development of the new technology while Northstar Aerospace provides manufacturing development, assembly and test facilities.
The U.S. government-industry team is managed through the Integrated Defense Advanced Systems (IDeAS), Boeing’s Research and Development business unit.
Testing has already been successful at a variety of speeds and power levels. The team’s success to date has followed months of individual component testing.
Operational development testing will continue under the cooperative agreement between the AATD and Boeing through 2005.
Northstar Aerospace in Milton, Ontario, Canada, manufactured the face gear transmission to Boeing design requirements and delivered it to the Chicago test