HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Pilots will soon see things differently from the cockpit of some Apache aircraft. The U.S. Army plans to buy 690 Apache E model aircraft and put upgraded sensors in all of them.
The Modernized Day Sensor Assembly, or M-DSA, will bring enhanced capabilities to the aircraft. Fred Swisher is the Program Manager at Lockheed Martin. He described the sensors as "a daytime, nighttime targeting system that provides a laser range designator capability. It has a near IR and color TV in high resolution to identify targets."
In the video above this story, you can see for yourself the difference between the current and modernized sensors.
Lt. Col. Steven Van Riper is the Product Manager for Apache Sensors. He said, "It's a significant difference in resolution in order to ID and identify targets."
Color will be a new component with the upgraded sensors. Before, pilots were only able to see in black and white.
Lt. Col. Van Riper explained, "Now the air crew can actually call out a color of a vehicle, a building, or even the color of someone's shirt when they're trying to coordinate with ground forces."
A laser pointer marker has also been added to the mix. Lt. Col. Van Riper said, "The system also includes a laser pointer marker which allows the aircraft crew to point out things on the ground at night or in low visibility conditions so that ground forces or other aircraft can see it."
These additions will make it easier for pilots in the air to communicate with forces on the ground about potential threats. Lt. Col. Van Riper said, "That saves precious time on the battle field and allows us to neutralize the threat as quickly as possible."
Lockheed Martin, the Apache Program Office, and the Army Flight Test Directorate will spend the next few months testing the M-DSA capabilities at Redstone Arsenal and Yuma Proving Grounds.