Orlando,USA: Lockheed Martin has received a contract from the US Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) to lead the Apache Video from Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Interoperability Teaming – Level 2 (VUIT-2) programme through September 2009.
The company said that the Apache VUIT-2 system receives streaming battlefield video and metadata from Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and displays it on Apache cockpit multi-purpose displays, enhancing situational awareness and dramatically reducing the sensor-to-shooter timeline, improving effectiveness against time-critical targets.
As the systems integrator, Lockheed Martin will transition VUIT-2 to production.
''Recent testing at the National Training Center has demonstrated the Apache VUIT-2 system's significant value to the warfighter,'' said William Murtha, Apache VUIT-2 senior programme manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. ''Lockheed Martin understands the criticality of this capability to the pilot, and has gone from design to production in less than one year.''
VUIT-2 can transmit both Apache and UAS video, via a mini-tactical common data link, to soldiers on the ground equipped with One System Remote Video Terminals. While linked, the UAS can seek possible threats and targets, reducing risk to air crews and affording Apache pilots improved situational awareness.
VUIT-2 also enables video to be sent to ground operations for confirmation and positive target identification. Once accurately confirmed, Apache air crews can engage targets with precision missiles or other weapon systems.
Planned upgrades to the VUIT-2 system will provide future interface with the Apache Block III UAS Tactical Common Data Link Assembly scheduled for fielding in 2011.
''Apache VUIT-2 will save lives, and provide a vital capability to the US Army for years to come,'' said Rich Russell, director of Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
Bethesda, Maryland-headquartered, Lockheed Martin, reported 2007 sales of $41.9 billion.