LONGBOW to sustain Apache Fire Control Radars

The US Army has awarded the LONGBOW Limited Liability Company (LBL) a five-year contract to sustain the AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radar (FCR) on AH-64D/E attack helicopters.

The indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract, worth US$235.8m, will see the company – a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman – provide post-production support and sustainment services for the FCR to international customers. The services will be tailorable to each foreign military sales (FMS) customer and will include programme and logistics management, the repair of system modules as required, the replenishment of depot parts, field engineering support, operator and maintainer training for both AH-64D Apache Longbow and AH-64E Guardian variants.

Jim Messina, LBL president and Lockheed Martin programme director, said: “With a tailored sustainment approach, customers have the flexibility to add services as needed based on fleet demands… This contract also enhances LBL’s agility to achieve our customers’ sustainability requirements.”

AH-64 [US Army/Sgt Harley Jelis]
A US Army Apache takes off to practice an air assault during Exercise Friendship and Iron Hawk 14 in April 2014. New York Air National Guard (NY ANG)/Sgt Harley Jelis

The contract – announced by Lockheed Martin on February 18 – also includes initial task orders for 12 international customers from 11 nations, three of which have already been awarded, with the others expected to follow suit by the end of the year. Additional customers may also be added during the IDIQ contract’s five-year duration.

Shalini Gupta, LBL vice president and Northrop Grumman director for LONGBOW programmes, said: “A significant benefit of the sustainment IDIQ contract vehicle is [a] rapid contract award timeline for our international allies.

“LBL can now be awarded sustainment task orders within weeks after [a] Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) signature, versus the previous timeline of years to complete the contract process," she added.

The AN/APG-78 LONGBOW FCR provides AH-64D/E aircrews with automatic target detection, location, classification and prioritisation, and enables a rapid, multi-target engagement in all weather conditions, terrains and battlefield obscurants.

Version 6 – a modernised version of the LONGBOW FCR for the AH-64E Apache Guardian – is currently undergoing Follow-On Test and Evaluation II (FOT&E II) with the US Army. During which, the radar has successfully demonstrated new single target track, 360° surveillance and maritime operational modes, along with extended detection range capabilities against air, land and sea targets.

As of February 18, LBR had delivered 500 LONGBOW FCR systems to the US Army and international customers.