Asymmetric Dialogue

Electro-optical targeting for attack helicopters


Electro-optics experts at Lockheed Martin Corp. are building five multi-sensor electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) fire-control systems for U.S. Marine Corps AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters.
Officials of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Ind., announced an $11.8 million order on Friday to the Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control segment in Orlando, Fla., for five AN/AAQ-30 target sight systems (TSS).
The TSS equipment for Marine Corps Viper helicopter gunships is part of the Marine Corps H-1 upgrades program for the remanufacture of legacy aircraft with state-of-the-art designs to convert the Marine Corps' existing fleet of AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopters to the AH-1Z Viper, Navy officials say.
The Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-30 TSS provides target identification and tracking, passive targeting for integrated weapons -- including Hellfire missiles -- and a laser designation for laser-guided weapons. TSS provides can identify and laser-designate targets at the maximum ranges of Viper helicopter weapons.
The AN/AAQ-30 targeting system is a large-aperture midwave forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor, color TV, laser designator and rangefinder (with eyesafe mode), and on-gimbal inertial measurement unit integrated into a stabilized turret on the nose of the helicopter.
The AN/AAQ-30 has an 8.55-inch aperture, midwave staring FLIR with four fields-of-view for image resolution and long-range performance. Its gimbal is stabilized to less than 15 microradians.
The sensor suite has a multi-mode, multi-target tracker with coast-through-obscuration capability; on-gimbal inertial measurement unit for reduced image blur from jitter; precise line pointing; and target geo-location.

The sensor also has advanced image processing for sharp imagery; algorithms for enhanced image recognition and identification; high magnification; continuous zoom; and color TV with field-of-view matched to the FLIR.
The AN/AAQ-30 also has a cooled 640-by-512-pixel indium antimonide detector, as well as a modular architecture for future growth, Lockheed Martin officials say.
militaryaerospace.com