AN/APG-78 Longbow millimeter-wave fire-control radar (FCR) system
AN/APG-78 Longbow millimeter-wave fire-control radar (FCR) system

Longbow LLC Awarded $156 Million Contract for Australian and US Apache Attack Helicopter

The Longbow Limited Liability Company (LBL), a joint venture between Northrop Grumman Corporation and Lockheed Martin, was awarded a $156,372,092 to contract for the procurement of Apache Attack Helicopter Fire Control Radar and other support hardware and auxiliary services. The AN/APG-78 Longbow is a millimeter-wave fire-control radar (FCR) system for the AH-64D/E Apache attack helicopter. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida; and Linthicum Heights, Maryland, with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2027. Fiscal 2023 Foreign Military Sales (Australia) funds in the amount of $156,372,092 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. Deliveries of the LONGBOW FCR will continue through 2028 driven by several new international customers seeking advanced fire control radar capabilities.

The AN/APG-78 Longbow was initially developed in the 1980s as the Airborne Adverse Weather Weapon System (AAWWS) as part of the Multi-Stage Improvement Program (MSIP) to enhance the AH-64A. By 1990, both AAWWS and MSIP were renamed Longbow. The AN/APG-78 Longbow is a millimeter-wave fire-control radar (FCR) target acquisition system and the Radar Frequency Interferometer (RFI), which are housed in a dome located above the main rotor. The radome’s raised position enables target detection while the helicopter is behind obstacles (e.g. terrain, trees or buildings). The APG-78 is capable of simultaneously tracking up to 128 targets and engaging up to 16 at once; an attack can be initiated within 30 seconds. A radio modem integrated with the sensor suite allows data to be shared with ground units and other Apaches, allowing them to fire on targets detected by a single helicopter.

AN/APG-78 Longbow millimeter-wave fire-control radar (FCR) system
AN/APG-78 Longbow millimeter-wave fire-control radar (FCR) system. (Photo by Northrop Grumman Corporation)

The LONGBOW FCR provides Apache aircrews with automatic target detection, location, classification and prioritization, while enabling rapid, multi-target engagement in all weather conditions over multiple types of terrain and through battlefield obscurants. Version 6 FCR software enhancements provide new operational modes and capabilities, including maritime, single target track, and 360-degree surveillance mode, as well as extended detection range capability against land, air and sea targets. The LONGBOW JV has expanded beyond a US focus and now provides international post-production support services through a flexible contract for AH-64 APACHE AN/APG-78 LONGBOW FCR customers, including 12 foreign militaries in 11 nations. The JV provides all programme support via employees of the two parent companies.

The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement and a tandem cockpit for a crew of two. It features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. It is armed with a 30 mm (1.18 in) M230 chain gun carried between the main landing gear, under the aircraft’s forward fuselage, and four hardpoints mounted on stub-wing pylons for carrying armament and stores, typically a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods.The U.S. Army is the primary operator of the AH-64. It has also become the primary attack helicopter of multiple nations, including Egypt, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Morocco, Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan (Republic of China), United Arab Emirate and United Kingdom.

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