The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to upgrade the sensor equipment of Egypt’s Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters.
This is considered the first step in a planned modernization of the entire fleet to the latest AH-64E Apache Guardian standard.
Lockheed Martin announced on 4 January, that they received a contract to modernize the sensor systems on the aircraft, “which will reduce pilot workload and provide air crews with greater accuracy, clearer resolution, increased range and improved safety.”
“Egypt intends to use these upgraded AH-64 helicopters to modernize its armed forces to address the shared US-Egyptian interest in countering terrorist activities emanating from the Sinai Peninsula, which threaten Egyptian and Israeli security and undermine regional stability.” The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in May 2020.
Awarded on 28 December, the $102.4 million deal covers the production and delivery of hardware components and spares of the AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight (MTADS)/ AN/AAR-11 Pilot Night Vision Sensor (PNVS) system.
The MTADS/PNVS extends the Apache’s optical targeting ranges, at the same time as providing the crew with high-resolution images to help avoid obstacles, such as wires and trees, during nap-of-the-earth flight.
The contract will run till 31 July 2024, came about 19 months after the US State Department approved the remanufacture of 43 Egyptian AH-64D helicopters for an estimated USD2.3 billion.
Egypt is a major user of the Apache attack helicopter, with 46 AH-64Ds in service. The North African country also possesses 46 Kamov Ka-52s received from Russia, and a small number of Mi-24 attack helicopters, previously unknown. There are also about 60 Gazelle helicopters armed with HOT anti-tank missiles.
Egypt in 2018 requested for the sale of 10 AH-64Es Longbow Apache attack gunships which was approved by the US State Department, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 27 November on that same year.
The proposed sale was worth an estimated USD1 billion and included 24 engines (including four spares), 12 (two spare) Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sites/Pilot Night Vision Systems (M-TADS/PNVS), 14 (four spare) navigation systems, 135 Hellfire missiles, AVR-2 laser-detecting sets, AN/APR-39D radar warning receivers, AN/AVS-6 night-vision goggles, and unidentified doppler radar systems.
The request also includes software support for the Aviation Mission Planning Systems (AMPS), survivability equipment, communication and electronic equipment, spares, training US government, and contractor services.