Flying with V6 Apache: Supporting Today’s Missions to Prepare for Tomorrow’s Threats
“Fly, fight and survive.” This unofficial mantra of Apache aircrews is the ultimate goal when in combat and engaged in enemy fire, not only for themselves, but also for the ground soldiers the attack helicopter crews routinely support.
The first step to fulfilling this mantra is to see threats in order to identify, classify and eliminate targets at a considerable standoff range.
That’s where the latest integrated sensors and weapon systems of the Version 6 AH-64E Apache (V6) attack helicopter comes in.
What makes V6 so different? An updated suite of sensors and radar technology that enable the warfighter to engage with precision accuracy and survive in all battlefield environments.
The 129th Attack-Reconnaissance Battalion at Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM) is the first U.S. Army fleet to begin receiving V6, and the pilots have already begun to experience its benefits during new-equipment training on its first four aircraft.
“The new version of the Apache helicopter will provide the Bayonet Division and I Corps with a more lethal, intelligent, and survivable platform to help the team destroy the enemy,” Lt. Col. Kevin Easter, 1-229th Commander said in a release on V6 training. “The sensor suite upgrades provide increased range and lethality. The improvements to the battalion’s tactical navigation, combined with the Cognitive Decision Aiding System, will better assist them in maneuvering to the target and destroying it.”
Designed with an open systems architecture to integrate advanced technologies, the V6 aircraft includes the latest Lockheed Martin sensors and radar technology such as the Modernized Target Acquisition Designated Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) configured with the Modernized Day Sensor Assembly (M-DSA), the LONGBOW Fire Control Radar (FCR), the Modernized Radar Frequency Interferometer (M-RFI), as well as continued support and sustainment services.
Configuring the M-TADS/PNVS with the M-DSA system – now termed Gen III TADS/PNVS – enables pilots to see either color or near-infrared high-resolution imagery on cockpit displays, providing greater accuracy, clearer resolution, increased range and improved safety.
“The color video in the cockpit is a game-changer,” said a New Equipment Training Team (NETT) pilot. “I look forward to the ability to fly with near-infrared color and forward-looking infrared through my field of view when in combat. I could see this being especially helpful for night missions.”
As the battalion continues to receive the new helicopters, more training and fielding will be the next steps to ensuring the “fly, fight and survive” mantra is upheld. This latest version delivers holistic sensor and radar solutions which will help to identify future enhancements in targeting and pilotage technologies for the enduring fleet, as well as the future fleet.