A joint venture between Lockheed Martin (Missiles and Fire Control) and Northrop Grumman, the LONGBOW Limited Liability Company (LLLC) produced the LONGBOW system for the British Army’s WAH-64 Westland Apache attack helicopters. The LONGBOW integrated Fire Control Radar (FCR) and missile system is at the heart of the Apache system. The radar and missile combination enables the Apache to detect, classify and prioritise up to 256 ground targets, day or night, in poor weather and in obscured conditions; then engage those targets with pinpoint accuracy from ranges that safeguard the lives of British pilots.
The LONGBOW FCR has a very low probability of intercept. It rapidly and automatically searches, detects, locates, classifies, and prioritizes multiple moving and stationary targets on land, water and in the air in all weather and battlefield conditions from standoff ranges. Target coordinates are automatically available to other sensors and weapons for target confirmation, rapid engagement, and reduced fratricide. Target data is digitally available through the data modem for real-time transfer to other platforms and command posts. The self-contained Radar Frequency Interferometer provides rapid and accurate identification and azimuth to enemy air defense units. High system reliability and two-level maintenance maximize operational availability and reduce support costs.
For the Apache Block III upgrade, a new Radar Electronics Unit (REU) will replace two line-replaceable units. The REU will provide growth capabilities to the LONGBOW FCR and will reduce maintenance cost.
LONGBOW HELLFIRE Missile
The LONGBOW system employs fire-and-forget LONGBOW HELLFIRE AGM-114L missiles that can be launched from defilade, increasing battlefield survivability. The LONGBOW HELLFIRE missile locks on targets before or after launch and has been used in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The M299 Smart Launcher has a fully digital interface to the Apache helicopter and fires all types of the HELLFIRE missile.