Boeing demonstrates Apache controlling a UAV weapon payload

ST. LOUIS, 13 April 2006. Boeing has demonstrated for the first time the ability of an AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter to control an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) weapon payload. The demonstration took place at Boeing's Mesa, Ariz., facility, home to Apache helicopter production and the company's Unmanned Little Bird (ULB) UAV technology demonstrator used in the test.

Apr 13th, 2006

ST. LOUIS, 13 April 2006. Boeing has demonstrated for the first time the ability of an AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter to control an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) weapon payload. The demonstration took place at Boeing's Mesa, Ariz., facility, home to Apache helicopter production and the company's Unmanned Little Bird (ULB) UAV technology demonstrator used in the test.

"Evaluations of the Apache Longbow helicopter's ability to control UAVs have been ongoing," says Melanie Luna, Boeing program manager for the Airborne Manned/Unmanned System Technology Demonstration (AMUST-D) program. "The latest test is moving the Apache to the next level -- controlling a UAV's sensors and employing its weapons."

During the test, the Apache Longbow, the AMUST-D aircraft, took control and commanded multiple payloads on the unmanned aircraft, an A/MH-6 derivative in development by Boeing. The Apache was on the ground during this engineering phase of remote weapons control while the ULB was several miles away.

Testers used the Apache's newly developed UAV weapon page to perform the standard Hellfire missile firing sequence on the ULB demonstrator through the existing co-pilot station without hardware modifications. Both aircraft feature L3 Communications' tactical common data link equipment and technologies.

The test supported an ongoing U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate weaponization program through a contract with Boeing Phantom Works.


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