Aerospace & Defense

Information Technology


Emerging Capabilities

M-DSA: Overview

Modernized Day Sensor Assembly (M-DSA) is the next step in the modernization of the Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) system, also known as Arrowhead. The lower M-TADS turret contains the targeting system, which has both day and night sensor assemblies. The M-DSA incorporates updated Laser Rangefinder Designator, TV Sensor, and Laser Spot Tracker components, elements of which were designed in the 1970s. The objective is to modernize the entire DSA system to enhance performance and address obsolescence, as well as to increase the M-TADS/PNVS ability to fully accommodate weapons now in production.

Arrowhead, deployed in 2005, modernized the forward looking infrared (FLIR) elements of the TADS and the PNVS. As its capabilities have been integrated into operations in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, its impact on the effectiveness and safety of the Apache AH-64D has continued to be felt.

This modernization effort will provide superior technological and precision engagement advantages to the Warfighter. It will ensure the U.S. Army’s Apache helicopter remains the world’s finest attack helicopter well into the future.

The state-of-the-art and higher-performance Laser Rangefinder Designator (including an eye-safe rangefinder) and Day Sensor Electronics Unit replace the Laser Transceiver Unit and associated electronics in the Apache’s legacy DSA. The new Day Sensor Structure Assembly incorporates fields of view (FOVs) that match the Arrowhead FLIR FOVs to accommodate image blending. The Modernized TV Sensor incorporates color and low light level sensitivity. The three spinning mass gyros are replaced with a state-of-the-art Inertial Measurement Unit. The new Laser Spot Tracker uses a four quadrant detector and improved processing. A Laser Pointer Marker is added to enhance coordination with ground and air units.

Arrowhead is a Registered Trademark of Lockheed Martin Corporation.