The U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, will become the first unit equipped with the new Ground Fire Acquisition System for its AH-64 helicopters next spring. The system uses cameras and infrared sensors to instantly identify the source location of ground fire, service officials said.
“GFAS (Ground Fire Acquisition System) detects ground fire. It allows us to take information about incoming fire, get our sensors on it and identify and prosecute ground targets,” said Maj. Justin Highley, Assistant product manager for the Longbow Apache.
The infrared sensors built into the GFAS system detect muzzle flashes from the ground, allowing Apache pilots to get their sensors on potential targets and immediately know the location, and distance of ground fire, Highley explained.
The cameras on the AH-64 aircraft detect the muzzle flash from ground fire – and move the information through an Aircraft Gateway Processor into the cockpit so pilots will see an icon on their display screen, said Lt. Col. Jeff Johnson, product manager, Longbow Apache.
“The beauty of this system is that we are not changing the aircraft software. We are not adding displays. It’s integrated through an Aircraft Gateway Processor,” he said.
The GFAS effort – called an Early User Evaluation – has undergone a range of key tests at places such as Mesa Ariz., and Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., Johnson explained.
Pending successful outcome of the User Evaluation, the Apache Program Manager will look at expanding GFAS’ capabilities, including integrating the technology with Blue Force Tracker display screens, Johnson said.