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McDONNELL DOUGLAS DEMONSTRATES IMPROVED COMMUNICATIONS CAPABILITIES FOR AH-64D LONGBOW

 MESA, Ariz., May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- McDonnell Douglas has demonstrated enhanced long-range, nap-of-the-earth communications capabilities for the modernized AH-64 Apache that will further reinforce its domination of future battlefields.
 Following the tests this month, one of the U.S. government engineers who participated in the tests reported that the AH-64D Longbow communications and IFF suite demonstrated "one of the best communications capabilities in the U.S. Army's inventory."
 Frank Cansler, an electrical engineer from the U.S. Army's Command, Control and Systems Integration Directorate at CECOM, added, "We interviewed pilots at every stage and were convinced that they're pleased with the enhancements that were made."
 Cansler, who has participated in virtually all of the Apache communications surveys since the Apache was fielded, also praised the test procedures for being well conceived and lauded participants for a strong "team effort."
 The unprecedented long-range communications capabilities were demonstrated aboard AH-64D Longbow prototype No. 2 during a six-week flight survey in Arizona.
 Further testing will be conducted late this year when the Improved Data Modem, Longbow Fire Control Radar and armament systems are operational.
 The recent tests were part of a required communications survey for the Army to demonstrate that the AH-64D meets performance specifications. The aircraft easily met government specifications that require the modernized Apache to communicate via tactical radios with other aircraft or ground stations at distances of up to 35 nautical miles at 1,200 feet above ground level (AGL).
 Included in the survey was a demonstration of Longbow's nap-of- the-earth communications capabilities. While flying at 100 feet AGL, Longbow was able to consistently communicate with a ground station located 25 nautical miles away.
 "Our tests clearly show that the AH-64D's communications suite gives this multirole combat helicopter added versatility and capability in nap-of-the-earth flight," said Al Winn, vice president of engineering for McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. "Staying in contact with command and control elements and other combat forces is an integral part of the Longbow mission."
 Winn added that the test procedures developed by McDonnell Douglas were as impressive as the results.
 "By using an on-board computer to direct and record antenna signals in flight, we increased the useful data we received, reduced the time needed for testing and provided valuable baseline data for future tests."
 The data collected during the communications survey was downlinked to the ground station for immediate review while the aircraft was still in flight conducting tests.
 Winn added that the communications test program developed for the AH-64D could be applied to tests on any aircraft.
 Typical communications testing in the past involved manual and subjective checks of on-board communications systems at periodic intervals. Use of the computer enabled actual flight data to be collected virtually non-stop.
 The communications enhancements, which include integration of four separate radios, new antennas and a power amplifier, will be incorporated when the Army's Apache fleet is modernized to the AH-64C/D configuration beginning in 1996.
 In addition, McDonnell Douglas engineers relocated some of the radios, antennas and electronic components, improved electromagnetic shielding and made other modifications to enhance the Apache's long- range communications capabilities.
 The tests were conducted with the AH-64D in two configurations -- equipped with fuel tanks on the inboard pylons and rockets outboard to simulate a deployment configuration, and with 70 mm rockets inboard and Hellfire missiles outboard to represent a tactical configuration.
 The U.S. Army plans to modernize its entire fleet of AH-64A Apaches to the more capable AH-64C/D configuration.
 Newly integrated, digitized electronics enable the AH-64C/D to launch the RF Hellfire fire-and-forget missile and transmit target information, via secure data link, among numerous aircraft, ground forces and major command, control and intelligence networks.
 "The AH-64C/D is the best-value solution to the Army's current and future requirement for the next generation high-technology multirole combat helicopter," Winn added.
 -0- 5/13/93
 /CONTACT: Hal Klopper of McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. 602-891-5519/


CO: McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. ST: Arizona IN: ARO SU:

BP-MS -- LA041 -- 8353 05/13/93 17:40 EDT
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Date:May 13, 1993
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