A joint venture between defence majors Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Longbow LLC has secured a $116.70-million contract (around ₹776 crore) to produce fire-control radar systems for the Indian Air Force. The foreign military sales (FMS) contract is aimed at supporting India’s future fleet of Boeing-built Apache helicopters. “The FMS contract is through the US Army,” an official spokesperson of Lockheed Martin toldBusinessLine. India has become the 11th international customer for Longbow’s Apache radar. “The US Army and international customers such as Korea, Saudi Arabia and the UK, equip their Apache helicopters with Longbow fire-control radar (FCRs),” the spokesperson said. The contract covers the production of 12 Longbow FCR systems and spares for India. Production will extend through 2019 at Lockheed Martin’s Orlando and Ocala, Florida, facilities and at Northrop Grumman’s Baltimore facility in the US. For more than a decade, the Longbow FCR has enabled Apache aircrews to automatically detect, locate, and prioritise targets. The FCR, that aims to support the Apache helicopter for India’s military, enables rapid, multi-target engagement in all weather and over multiple terrains, the company said. Under the contract, a total of $57.1 million will be paid to Longbow for the work, with total programme cost not to exceed $117 million, said Lockheed Martin in a statement.
The Longbow FCR system is designed to integrate with Hellfire air-to-surface missiles used on the new Apache AH-64E helicopters. India has also placed an order for 812 Hellfire Longbow missiles, and 542 Hellfire-II missiles as part of an overall $3.1-billion India-US defence deal. Jim Messina, Longbow president, and Director of Longbow programmes at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said in a statement that with Longbow FCR, “the Indian Air Force will receive a rapid all-weather targeting capability. The FCR’s air over-watch mode provides aircrews with 360-degree situational awareness, improving survivability and mission success.” The company said the Longbow system enhances the Apache lethality fourfold and survivability sevenfold. Nearly 400 radars and more than 14,000 missiles have been contracted for the US Army and international customers.