ORLANDO, Fla., 23 Feb. 2012. Engineers from the Longbow Limited Liability Company, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) and Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC), have delivered to the U.S. Army the first production Unmanned Aerial Systems Tactical Common Data Link Assembly (UTA) for the Apache Block III helicopter, following the completion of the Longbow UTA system design and development phase. The Longbow UTA two-way, high-bandwidth data link for the Apache enables aircrews to control the sensor and flight path of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs).
UTA-equipped Apache aircrews can operate a UAS at long range and receive real-time, high-definition streaming video on multifunctional displays, while the Block III Radar Electronics Unit enhances the performance of the Longbow Fire Control Radar system while also reducing size, weight, maintenance, and power requirements.
“The delivery of the first Apache Block III UAS [Unmanned Aircraft Systems] control system, called the UTA, marks the next major capability advancement for the Apache, which continues to be the deciding factor on the battlefield," says Lt. Col. Dan Bailey, U.S. Army Apache Block III product manager. "When fielded, the UTA capability will significantly enhance the game-changing perspective of the Apache."
"The delivery of the first UTA system to the U.S. Army is the successful culmination of a nearly six-year design and development program," explains Mike Taylor, Longbow LLC president and director of Longbow programs in Lockheed Martin's Missiles and Fire Control business. "The UTA provides Apache aircrews with increased situational awareness and net-centric interoperability significantly reducing sensor-to-shooter timelines."
Low-rate initial production is underway. The UTA will be fielded on the Apache Block III aircraft beginning in 2012.