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AN/AWS-1(V)1 Night Targeting System

The AN/AWS-1(V)1 Night Targeting System (NTS) is a modification of the earlier M65 TOW Missile System for the AH-1 series of helicopters, offering a fire control system providing the flight crew with the ability to detect, acquire, track, lock-on, range, and designate targets under day, night, and adverse weather conditions. ECP 1648-R-4 Canopy/Cockpit Modification is the Engineer Change Proposal (ECP) that modifies the aircraft to accommodate the NTS.

The front cockpit of the AH-1W was modified to facilitate the addition of the NTS. This modification also resulted in increased efficiency in the front cockpit and helped divide cockpit workload between the front and rear cockpits. Specifically, the additions and deletions were:

  • Expansion of the ASQ-205 Cockpit Control System (CCS) to include the front cockpit.
  • Re-design of the instrument panel to include a more IFR compatible flight instrument cluster.
  • Re-design of the caution warning panel.
  • Addition of a gunners radar altimeter repeater.
  • Addition of a 5" x 5" Multi-Function Display (MFD) in the front cockpit.
  • Addition of the ANVIS HUD system with control heads in both cockpits.
  • Deletion of the gunners Ng gauges.

The Night Targeting System (NTS) included the following hardware changes to the AH-1W:

  • Modification of the M65 telescopic sighting unit (TSU) to accommodate the FLIR.
  • An extended Optical Relay Tube (ORT) to accommodate a CCD TV camera.
  • Addition of a Laser Designator/Range finding System (LDRS).
  • Modification of the M65 Left Hand Grip (LHG).
  • Addition of Laser Code Panel (LCP).
  • Addition of a Processor Electronics Box (PEB) in the Hydraulic compartment which processes the inputs from multiple sources and controls most NTS functions.
  • Addition of a FLIR Electronics Box (FEB) above the Ammo Bay which takes signals from the FLIR detector strip and processes them into a two dimensional video image.
  • Addition of a Photosonics Super/Standard VHS located in the Baggage compartment.
  • Addition of a Laser First/Last/Off switch located in the front cockpit.
  • Addition of a Super/Standard VHS recorder located in the baggage compartment.

Without the NTS modification, the AH-1W only featured a Direct View Optics(DVO) Capability. Installation of the NTS added the following systems/capabilities to the AH-1W:

  • FLIR sensor.
  • CCD TV sensor.
  • Laser Designator/Rangefinder.
  • Automatic Target Tracking.
  • FLIR and CCD TV video recording.

The heavily modified Left Hand Grip (LHG) is the NTS's primary copilot/gunner interface. After modification it contained 11 switches, with the following functions.

The M197 Gun trigger was Essentially unchanged with the addition of starting the VCR when activated.

The Action Bar was essentially unchanged with the addition that it subsequently selected the slew rate of the turret when in the FLIR Medium Field of View (MFOV).

The Offset Button, when pressed in the auto-track mode, allowed the gunner to offset (up to 1/4 screen) the reticule line of sight from the autotracked target.

The Weapon Select button, a covered switch, when in the HELLFIRE mode, would allow the gunner to fire a HELLFIRE missile from the left hand grip.

The FOV/Sensor/Polarity Select was A five position switch, which changed FLIR polarity when pressed, would select higher and lower magnification FOVs when pressed up and down respectively and would allow the gunner to select DVO when pressed left and the CCD TV or FLIR video image to be displayed on the MFD and through the ORT when pressed right. When either FLIR or CCD TV video was selected, pressing the switch to the right again would select the other video image. It was important to note that when DVO was selected, the last selected video would be displayed on the MFD, CRT and VCR.

The FLIR Focus button was operated by pressing straight in on the switch, and would select the FLIR autofocus function. The FLIR would focus on the center 40-60 percent of the FLIR image and display the best focus available. Depressing the top or bottom of the Rocker Switch would adjust the FLIR focus farther out or closer in respectively. The auto track switch would command the system to attempt autotrack of the target selected by the gunner.

The laser range finder button would emit laser energy in a non-coded form to determine range to a target selected by the gunner with the reticule. Range finding would be continuous until the gunner released the range finding button.

The Auto Gain/Level button allowed the gunner, in the FLIR mode, to select to manually adjust the gain and level of the FLIR by pressing the switch straight in. In the manual mode, the gunner could adjust the gain and level by moving the switch left, right, up or down. In the Auto Gain/Level mode, the FEB would process the FLIR signal and average the Gain/Level mode across the screen to produce the smoothest picture.

The symbology switch would declutter any target position displayed on the video screen. As of February 1996 this function was not yet implemented in the NTS. When in the FLIR mode, if the button was pressed and held in for 5 seconds, a grey scale display would be presented to allow the gunner to adjust CRT and MFD brightness and contrast.

The Laser Designator switch was a guarded switch located below the trigger on the LHG which caused the laser to emit whatever coded laser energy is selected.

There were a wide variety of other required modifications to the cockpit and canopy areas for complete NTS installation.

A Laser Range Panel (LRP) incorporated a minimum range set knob and a display switch, while a Laser Code Panel (LCP) located on the left side of the instrument panel provides numerous other functions. Its primary function was to code the laser for use in designating targets for ordnance which were compatible with NATO standard laser codes.

The Cockpit Control Unit Panel (CCUP) is located on the left hand console panel of the gunners seat. It provided for the control and use of the VCR along with, status lights of the NTS, control of the brightness and contrast for the CCD TV display in the ORT, symbology brightness, and LED display brightness.

The NTS was designed with the ability to internally boresight all of its sensors and the laser without any support equipment.

The seven segment display was located in the lower portion of the ORT and consists of four LED numerals and four indicator lights. NTS symbology provided messages that appear on the Copilot/Gunner CCD TV and FLIR sensors. A Multi-Function Display (MFD) was located above the ORT and installed to provide the gunner with a display of the currently selected sensor, FLIR or CCD TV. The image would also be displayed on the CRT or the ORT. The 1" by 1" display in the TSU that presented FLIR, CCR, TVC, and VCR images to the copilot gunner functioned off of a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT). The Charge Coupled Device (CCD) Television Camera (CCD TVC) was a camera mounted in the TSU providing black and white day TV to the CRT and the Multi Function Display (MFD), while the Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) recorded the CCD TVC or FLIR output using either Super Video Home System (SVHS) or standard VHS tapes. The VCR was mounted in the tailboom and was controlled by the Cockpit Control Unit (CCU) in the copilot/gunner station. It is accessible through the tailboom access door.

The Laser Designator and Ranging System (LDRS) provided coded laser energy for designation of targets for attack by HELLFIRE or other laser guided weapons, and provided automatic laser ranging. The Telescopic Sight Unit (TSU) was a modified version of the previous M65 TSU which incorporated FLIR, CCD TVC, LDRS, and automatic in-flight boresighting. The modified TSU was the heart of the NTS.

Stabilization Control Amplifier (SCA) was a modified replacement for the existing SCA to incorporate NTS functions. It contained autotracking functions and scales HUD and TSU reticules.




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