Army asks Intevac to provide high-performance cameras for attack helicopters

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 13 July 2015. U.S. Army electro-optics experts needed rugged high-performance cameras and related electro-optical sensor equipment for the Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow and AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters. They found their solution from Intevac Inc. in Santa Clara, Calif.

Content Dam Mae Online Articles 2015 June Apache Camera 16 June 2015
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 13 July 2015. U.S. Army electro-optics experts needed rugged high-performance cameras and related electro-optical sensor equipment for the Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow and AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters. They found their solution from Intevac Inc. in Santa Clara, Calif.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., announced a $12.6 million contract to Intevac Photonics late last week for electronic image intensifier ship-sets for Lot 4 of the Apache AH-64D/E program.

The electronic image intensifier (EI2) that is being integrated on the AH-64D/E attack helicopters comprises the camera and lens assembly. The contract calls for 261 EI2 Apache cameras and 27 initial spares. The contract also has options for 27 replenishment spares, 63 cameras, 79 cameras, 24 cameras, and one lot of depot repair support.

Intevac designs the AH-64D/E attack helicopter camera to provide clear imagery in extreme low-light conditions, company officials say. Intevac engineers designed the cameras to meet the specifications of the Army’s Apache Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) program.

The Apache cameras are part of the M-TADS/PNVS electro-optical sensor package that is integrated into the helicopter’s nose turret. The camera can identify light from laser pointers, improve visual acuity and resolution, and eliminate the need for pilots to wear night vision goggles.

Related: Boeing selects L-3 Multi-Purpose Displays for AH-64 Apache helicopter

The Apache camera incorporates Intevac’s ISIE11 extreme low-light sensor for nighttime and low-light imaging conditions to provide AH-64D/E pilots with clear imagery in conditions ranging from extreme darkness through the twilight transition period.

The Apache camera integrates a high voltage power supply, temperature sensor, FLASH memory with image correcting parameters, and support electronics.

The helicopter's optical window transfers input to the sensor from the external lens. The optical image is focused onto the photocathode and the resulting photoelectrons are accelerated across a vacuum gap and proximity-focused on the back-illuminated CMOS anode.

Intevac is receiving this contract sole-source because the company is the only responsible source that can satisfy Army requirements, Army officials say.

On this contract Intevac will do the work in Santa Clara, Calif., and should be finished by October 2017. For more information contact Intevac Photonics online at www.intevac.com/intevacphotonics, or the Army Contracting Command-Redstone at www.acc.army.mil/contractingcenters/acc-rsa.

More in Military