The LONGBOW LLC, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, delivered the first production Unmanned Aerial Systems Tactical Common Data Link Assembly (UTA) to the U.S. Army for the Apache Block III, the company announced Monday.
"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," said 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."
This delivery follows the successful completion of the LONGBOW UTA system design and development phase. Low-rate initial production is currently underway to equip the first U.S. Army Apache Block III helicopters with this capability.
"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," said 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."
LONGBOW UTA is a two-way, high-bandwidth data link for the Apache that enables aircrews to control the sensor and flight path of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. UTA-equipped Apache aircrews can operate a UAS at long range and receive real-time, high-definition streaming video on their multi-function displays. The UTA will be fielded on the Apache Block III aircraft beginning in 2012.