Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS)

Missiles and Fire Control has worked with several UK companies (Thales and BAE) to deliver the TADS/PNVS for the British Army’s WAH-64 Westland Apache helicopter. M-TADS/PNVS is a Lockheed Martin-developed upgrade to the navigation and targeting system that serves as the “Eyes’ of the Apache” helicopter. Also known as Arrowhead, it is the advanced electro-optical fire control system that Apache helicopter pilots use for safe flight in day, night, or bad weather missions. M-TADS/PNVS advanced technology improves system performance by more than 150 percent. Reliability increases more than 150 percent while maintenance actions decrease approximately 60 percent. Streamlining field maintenance from three to two levels saves nearly $1 billion in operation and support costs over the 20-year life of the system.

In October 2000, the US Army selected Team Apache Systems, led by Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company, for its M-TADS/PNVS program. Upgrades production began in 2003, and by June 2005, the US Army's first Apache unit was fielded. Arrowhead modules replace legacy TADS/PNVS hardware using a field retrofit kit.

The M-TADS/PNVS lower turret contains the targeting system, which has both day and night sensor assemblies. The targeting forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor uses SADA I technology. The FLIR has three fields-of-view, a multi-target tracker, multiple-code laser spot tracking, and internal boresight. A charge-coupled device camera improves day television (TV) viewing. Arrowhead’s electro-optics will replace the TADS/PNVS direct-view optics with a new design, the TADS electronic display and control (TEDAC) unit. TEDAC’s flat-panel display improves target resolution, situational awareness, and survivable space in the crew station.

The upper turret, the M-PNVS, provides highly improved imagery on the pilot’s helmet-mounted display for safe nap-of-the-earth flight at night and in degraded visual flight environments. The M-PNVS is a long-wave, high-definition FLIR with 52-degree wide field-of-view optics. The FLIR technology is based on a SADA I integrated detector cooler assembly and electronics modules that are common to the targeting FLIR. The new system also provides installation provisions for an auxiliary pilotage sensor that augments pilotage in adverse thermal environments and urban scenarios. Arrowhead’s advanced processing algorithms give pilots the best resolution possible to avoid obstacles, (including wires and trees), during low-level flight. The M-PNVS also has full provisions for image fusion.

Further Upgrades
An update to the TADS/PNVS Day Sensor Assembly (M-DSA) is in development. M-DSA modernizes the entire DSA system to enhance performance and address obsolescence, as well as to increase the system’s ability to fully accommodate weapons now in production.


• Greatly improved FLIR performance for accurate flight and fight in day, night, or adverse weather
• Streamlined, two-level maintenance
• Line-replaceable modules that simplify field maintenance
• Digital video enhances tracking and recording
• Cueing from LONGBOW Fire Control Radar or Radar Frequency Interferometer to identify targets