Updated Apache Flies With New UAV System

Jan 29, 2009
Bettina H. Chavanne chavanne@aviationweek.com

An AH-64D Apache Block III attack helicopter took its first flight recently, equipped with an upgraded version of the video from unmanned aircraft systems for interoperability teaming - level 2 (VUIT-2), called the Unmanned Aerial Systems Tactical Common Data Link Assembly (UTA).

The Longbow UTA, as Lockheed Martin is calling it, is a two-way, high-bandwidth data link for Apache aircrews that allows sensor and flight path control of UAVs. During the recent test, the UTA acquired and tracked a Boeing unmanned Little Bird in flight.

Apache crews will now be able to exercise control of UAVs at long ranges and receive real-time, high-definition streaming video of their multi-function displays. While VUIT-2 is a federated system, UTA is fully integrated with the Apache Arrowhead Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor system.

The Longbow UTA system, as currently configured by the U.S. Army, consists of either a fire control radar or a UTA, a fire-and-forget radar frequency Hellfire millimeter wave-guided missile and an all-digital M299 launcher. The new system will be fielded beginning in 2012.

Image credit: Boeing

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