The US Naval Surface Warfare Center has awarded a third follow-on contract to Lockheed Martin to produce the target sight system (TSS) for the US Marine Corps (USMC) AH-1Z Cobra attack helicopter.

The $49.9m order follows an initial TSS production contract in March 2008 and a follow-on production contract in June 2010.

The TSS is the multisensor fire control system for the AH-1Z Cobra that helps pilots to detect and identify targets before nearing the range of the threat.

The highly stabilised sensor suite consists of a laser designator, colour video display and a third-generation, mid-wave, forward-looking infrared sensor with advanced image processing.

The system ensures increased stand-off range, precise target engagements, accurate weapons delivery and reduced operator workload.

Lockheed delivered the first system in June 2009, and recently began early delivery of low-rate initial production units.

Production of the system will be performed at the company’s facilities in Ocala and Orlando, Florida, US, and is expected to continue until 2018.