AH-1Z Cobra attack helicopter.

The US Marine Corps’ (USMC) 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) has deployed Lockheed Martin’s target sight system (TSS) onto its AH-1Z Cobra attack helicopter.

Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control business airborne systems senior programme manager Joseph Butera said: "This first deployment of the AH-1Z Cobra with the 11th MEU expands the presence of the TSS in combat operations."

The initial TSS production contract was awarded by the US Naval Surface Warfare Center in March 2008 with follow-on production contracts in June 2010 and September 2011.

Lockheed delivered the first system in June 2009, and has recently begun the delivery of low-rate initial production units ahead of schedule.

The TSS unit is a multi-sensor fire control system for the Cobra helicopter designed to provide pilots with enhanced capabilities to detect, track and engage targets in every climate and location.

Integrated with state-of-the-art sensors, TSS provides superior imagery through a sensor suite specifically designed for the AH-1Z marine helicopter.

The upgraded integrated sensor units feature a laser designator, colour video display and a third-generation, mid-wave, forward-looking infrared sensor with advanced image processing to provide additional targeting capabilities.

These targeting capabilities include a new target-sizing function, refined geolocation accuracy and superior weapon alignment.

The Bell Helicopter-developed AH-1Z helicopter features a new, four-bladed composite rotor system, performance-matched transmission, four-bladed tail rotor, upgraded landing gear and a fully integrated glass cockpit.

The Cobra helicopters are part of the USMC H-1 upgrade programme, intended to replace AH-1W helicopters with new and remanufactured AH-1Zs.

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

Image: Lockheed Martin’s AH-1Z Cobra Targeting System makes its first operational deployment with the US Marine Corps.