Lunar Terrain Vehicle

Lockheed Martin and General Motors Co. are teaming up to develop the next generation of lunar vehicles to transport astronauts on the surface of the Moon, fundamentally evolving and expanding humanity’s deep-space exploration footprint.

Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV)
Lockheed Martin, General Motors team-up to develop next-generation Lunar Rover for NASA Artemis astronauts to explore the Moon

NASA’s Artemis program is sending humans back to the Moon where they will explore and conduct scientific experiments using a variety of rovers. NASA sought industry approaches to develop a Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) that will enable astronauts to explore the lunar surface farther than ever before. The LTV is the first of many types of surface mobility vehicles needed for NASA’s Artemis program.

To support NASA’s mission, the two industry leaders will develop a unique vehicle with innovative capabilities, drawing on their unparalleled engineering, performance, technology and reliability legacies. The result may allow astronauts to explore the lunar surface in unprecedented fashion and support discovery in places where humans have never gone before.

Lockheed Martin will lead the team by leveraging its more than 50-year-history of working with NASA on deep-space human and robotic spacecraft, such as NASA’s Orion exploration-class spaceship for Artemis and numerous Mars and planetary spacecraft.

«This alliance brings together powerhouse innovation from both companies to make a transformative class of vehicles», said Rick Ambrose, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Space. «Surface mobility is critical to enable and sustain long-term exploration of the lunar surface. These next-generation rovers will dramatically extend the range of astronauts as they perform high-priority science investigation on the Moon that will ultimately impact humanity’s understanding of our place in the solar system».

GM is a leader in battery-electric technologies and propulsion systems that are central to its multi-brand, multi-segment electric vehicle strategy, positioning the company for an all-electric future. Additionally, GM will use autonomous technology to facilitate safer and more efficient operations on the Moon.

«General Motors made history by applying advanced technologies and engineering to support the Lunar Rover Vehicle that the Apollo 15 astronauts drove on the Moon», said Alan Wexler, senior vice president of Innovation and Growth at General Motors. «Working together with Lockheed Martin and their deep-space exploration expertise, we plan to support American astronauts on the Moon once again».

GM has a proven history of supporting NASA and working within the space industry. The company manufactured, tested and integrated the inertial guidance and navigation systems for the entire Apollo Moon program, including Apollo 11 and the first human landing in 1969. GM also helped develop the electric Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), including the chassis and wheels for the LRV that was used on Apollo’s 15-17 missions.

Unlike the Apollo rovers that only traveled 4.7 miles (7.6 kilometers) from the landing site, the next-generation lunar vehicles are being designed to traverse significantly farther distances to support the first excursions of the Moon’s south pole, where it is cold and dark with more rugged terrain.

Autonomous, self-driving systems will allow the rovers to prepare for human landings, provide commercial payload services, and enhance the range and utility of scientific payloads and experiments.

Lockheed Martin brings unparalleled experience and capabilities in deep-space exploration. It has built spacecraft and systems that have gone to every planet, been on every NASA mission to Mars including building 11 of the agency’s Mars spacecraft, and played major roles on the space shuttle program and International Space Station power systems.

8,000 «Cats and Traps»

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced on 24 May, 2021 that the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) achieved the Navy’s target of 8,000 successful aircraft launches and recoveries during the ship’s 18-month Post Delivery Test & Trial (PDT&T) period.

General Atomics EMALS and AAG Systems Aboard CVN-78 Reach Over 8,000 «Cats and Traps» Milestone

«The last 18-months have been very exciting and challenging. We are proud of the record number of critical «firsts» EMALS and AAG achieved during this period to bring the systems into real-time operational readiness», stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. «Navy leadership set a clear goal of completing 8,000 catapult launches and arrestments during PDT&T. EMALS and AAG met and exceeded that goal with a 100% safety record».

During the January 2020 through April 30, 2021 PDT&T period, CVN 78 conducted 18 Independent Steaming Events (ISE) involving night and day, all weather, and various sea state operations. Within the first three months, EMALS and AAG completed critical Aircraft Compatibility Testing (ACT), Flight Deck Certification (FDC), and more than 2,000 successful aircraft launch and recovery cycles involving F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, E-2C/D Hawkeyes and Advanced Hawkeyes, C-2A Greyhounds, EA-18G Growlers, and T-45C Goshawks. By the 17th ISE in March 2021, EMALS and AAG had successfully completed 7,879 cats and traps aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). During the 18th and final ISE in April 2021, EMALS and AAG broke 8,000 by over 150 launches and recoveries.

«What is also notable is that CVN-78 was the only East Coast carrier available for student aviator carrier training and pilot certification during this period», said Forney. «EMALS and AAG played a critical role in helping over 400 pilots, including new student aviators, achieve their initial carrier qualifications or recertify their proficiency. The confidence placed in EMALS and AAG capabilities to safely launch and arrest both seasoned pilots as they sharpen their skillsets, and future naval aviators as they earn their wings of gold, is something we are extremely proud of».

GA-EMS is also delivering EMALS and AAG for the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) and USS Enterprise (CVN-80). EMALS and AAG will provide greater flexibility over legacy systems to accommodate the current air wing, as well as future manned and unmanned aircraft.

Passive Radio Sensors

KONGSBERG has placed an order with BAE Systems Australia to acquire an additional 180 Passive Radio Frequency Sensors (PRS) for its Joint Strike Missile (JSM).

Joint Strike Missile (JSM)
Australian technologies for Joint Strike Missile (JSM)

This completes the first full rate of production order for 200 PRS sensors and is the result of successful and efficient operations between the two companies over the past five years.

Following initial funding from the Australian Government, KONGSBERG and BAE Systems Australia have continued to invest in the development, qualification and integration of the Australian sensor providing additional capability to the fifth-generation, long-range, precision-guided, stand-off missile system.

KONGSBERG’s JSM is highly effective against maritime and land targets, and is the only anti-ship cruise missile that can be carried internally within the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

This allows the F-35 Lightning II to retain its range and stealth capabilities, making it highly suited to meet the RAAF’s F-35 Maritime Strike requirements under Project 3023 Phase 2.

The JSM is from the same family of missiles as the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) that was competitively selected by the U.S. Navy, and is also a candidate missile for Project SEA 1300 for the Royal Australian Navy.

This order demonstrates KONGSBERG’s willingness to work closely with Australian Defence Industry and BAE Systems Australia’s commitment to developing sovereign capability in Guided Weapons programs that will benefit the Australian Defence Force.


Kongsberg Defence Australia’s General Manager John Fry said:

«This latest export order with BAE Systems Australia further demonstrates KONGSBERG’s commitment to working with our Australian Industry partners on the development of world-leading sovereign guided weapon technology».

«The work that we are doing with BAE Systems Australia on JSM continues to build upon KONGSBERG’s legacy of collaboration with Australian companies on guided weapon production that commenced 25 years ago with the Australian manufacture of Penguin missile components».

«The global interest for JSM with the international F-35 Lightning II user community gives us confidence that the PRS will continue to be an outstanding export story for Australian Defence Industry».


BAE Systems Australia Managing Director Defence Delivery Andrew Gresham said:

«Achieving this major milestone in the JSM program provides an excellent example of how KONGSBERG, an international guided weapons provider and BAE Systems Australia, have successfully established an effective working relationship that supports design, development, integration and production activities in the field of guided weapons».

«This order demonstrates Australia’s ability to develop new, world leading sovereign technologies. The integration of this technology into a guided weapon will provide the Australian Defence Force with a leading edge defence capability».

«Our collaboration and success in developing this sensor for the JSM also showcases how Australia can compete on the world stage and export innovative defence technologies».

Robert F. Kennedy

On May 21, General Dynamics National Association of Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO) started construction of the future USNS Robert F. Kennedy (T-AO 208), the fourth of six vessels for the U.S. Navy’s John Lewis-class fleet oiler program.

USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205)
USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205) (General Dynamics NASSCO picture)

Francisco Medina, a long-time NASSCO employee and the Start of Construction honoree, initiated the first cut of steel that will be used to construct the vessel.

«Today, we celebrate a time-honored tradition that marks the beginning of production for the ship and to celebrate the life and service of the ship’s namesake Robert F. Kennedy», said Dave Carver, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. «This ship represents the thousands of men and women who have worked hard to make this ship class a success».

Designed to transfer fuel to U.S. Navy carrier strike group ships operating at sea, the 742-feet/226 meters vessels have a full load displacement of 49,850 tons, with the capacity to carry 157,000 barrels of oil, a significant dry cargo capacity, aviation capability and up to a speed of 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h.

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, representatives from NASSCO and the U.S. Navy gathered for a hybrid virtual and in-person ceremony. A short recap video with remarks will be released via the NASSCO website following the event.

Combat Ship

The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the future USS Mobile (LCS-26), at 10:00 a.m. CDT, Saturday, May 22 in Mobile, Alabama.

USS Mobile (LCS-26)
U.S. Navy commissioned Littoral Combat Ship USS Mobile (LCS-26)

Due to public health and safety concerns related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the commissioning ceremony is private with a limited audience.

Mr. James «Hondo» Geurts, performing the duties of under secretary of the U.S. Navy, and Vice Admiral John Mustin, Chief of Naval Reserve, provided remarks. Mrs. Rebecca Byrne, the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Community Foundation of South Alabama and wife of former U.S. Representative from Alabama Bradley Byrne, was the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony observed a time-honored Navy tradition when Mrs. Byrne gave the order to «man our ship and bring her to life»!

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama delivered the commissioning ceremony’s principal address.

Commander Christopher W. Wolff, a third-generation naval officer, is the ship’s commanding officer and leads a crew of 70 officers and enlisted Sailors.

«It has been an amazing experience to get to know our namesake city so well, while having the opportunity to live, work, and commission the ship right here in Mobile, where she was built», said Wolff. «We have definitely felt welcomed into the community, and have created a strong connection to the area that I am confident will last. Mobile bills itself as a city that is born to celebrate and the crew has really adopted that philosophy as we celebrate our shipmates every day».

The ship is 421 feet/128.3 m in length, has a beam of 103 feet/31.4 m, and a navigational draft of 14.8 feet/4.5 m. It is powered by two gas turbine engines, two main propulsion diesel engines, and four waterjets to speeds up to 40-plus knots/46-plus mph/74-plus km/h.

Built by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, Mobile was christened December 7, 2019 and delivered to the U.S. Navy on December 9, 2020.

Mobile, the fifth ship to bear the name, is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments while capable of open-ocean tasking and winning against 21st-century coastal threats such as submarines, mines, and swarming small craft. LCS are capable of supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence.

USS Mobile (LCS-26) will homeport at Naval Base San Diego, California.


The Independence Variant of the LCS

Construction Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 421 feet/128.3 m
Beam overall 103 feet/31.4 m
Hull draft (maximum) 14.8 feet/4.5 m
Complement Core Crew – 40
Mission crew – 36
Berthing 76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments
Maximum mission load 210 tonnes
Mission Bay Volume 118,403 feet3/11,000 m3
Mission packages Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Surface Warfare (SUW)
Mine Warfare (MIW)
Main engines 2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila steerable
Bow thruster Retractable azimuthing
Speed 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range 3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km
Operational limitation Survival in Sea State 8
Deck area >21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2
Launch and recovery Twin boom extending crane
Loading Side ramp
Internal elevator to hanger
Launch/Recover Watercraft Sea State 4
Flight deck dimensions 2 × SH-60 or 1 × CH-53 or multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs/VTUAVs)
Hanger Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60
Launch/Recover Aircraft Sea State 5
Standard 1 × 57-mm gun
4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns
1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher
3 × weapons modules



Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Independence (LCS-2) 01-19-2006 04-26-2008 01-16-2010 San Diego, California
USS Coronado (LCS-4) 12-17-2009 01-14-2012 04-05-2014 San Diego, California
USS Jackson (LCS-6) 08-01-2011 12-14-2013 12-05-2015 San Diego, California
USS Montgomery (LCS-8) 06-25-2013 08-06-2014 09-10-2016 San Diego, California
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) 04-16-2014 02-25-2015 06-10-2017 San Diego, California
USS Omaha (LCS-12) 02-18-2015 11-20-2015 02-03-2018 San Diego, California
USS Manchester (LCS-14) 06-29-2015 05-12-2016 05-26-2018 San Diego, California
USS Tulsa (LCS-16) 01-11-2016 03-16-2017 02-16-2019 San Diego, California
USS Charleston (LCS-18) 06-28-2016 09-14-2017 03-02-2019 San Diego, California
USS Cincinnati (LCS-20) 04-10-2017 05-22-2018 10-05-2019 San Diego, California
USS Kansas City (LCS-22) 11-15-2017 10-19-2018 06-20-2020 San Diego, California
USS Oakland (LCS-24) 07-20-2018 07-21-2019 04-17-2021 San Diego, California
USS Mobile (LCS-26) 12-14-2018 01-11-2020 05-22-2021 San Diego, California
USS Savannah (LCS-28) 09-20-2018 09-08-2020
USS Canberra (LCS-30) 03-10-2020 03-30-2021
USS Santa Barbara (LCS-32) 10-27-2020
USS Augusta (LCS-34)
USS Kingsville (LCS-36)
USS Pierre (LCS-38)


Robotic combat vehicle

Army engineers evaluated methods to improve the radio performance of Robotic Combat Vehicles (RCVs) during a field-based experiment.

Humvee’s sit on an airfield in preparation for a radio test during the Platoon Attack Experiment, May 3, 2021, on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. The experiment focused on protected communications for tele-operating robotic combat vehicles under the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross-Functional Team’s (NGCV CFT) Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) effort, which combines Soldiers, manned and unmanned air and ground vehicles, robotics and sensors to increase situational understanding, lethality and resiliency (Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Jake Carter)

The experiment focused on protected communications for tele-operating robotic combat vehicles under the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross-Functional Team’s (NGCV CFT) Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) effort, which combines Soldiers, manned and unmanned air and ground vehicles, robotics and sensors to increase situational understanding, lethality and resiliency.

Radios will play a key component in the Optionally-Manned Fighting Vehicle’s ability to remotely control and maneuver RCVs in urban environments and varied terrain, noted Archie Kujawski, a network architect with the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center – a component of Army Futures Command’s Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM).

«In previous years, we did a campaign of learning to evolve modeling and simulation and lab-based risk reduction events, but the rubber hits the road when you can come out to a field environment and validate modeling and simulation as well as lab results», Kujawski said.

C5ISR Center engineers mounted radios onto multiple on-the-move vehicles to assess robustness and capacity in urban, open and wooded terrain, and resiliency during simulated electronic warfare attacks. Additionally, they explored system enhancements that increased signal strength and electronic protection.

«We also assessed the radio systems using a vendor-sourced antenna which demonstrated the value of employing directional antennas to amplify our signals in the direction of friendly forces and to block enemy jammers’ effects, ensuring continuous operations across the objective», said Doctor Michael Brownfield, the C5ISR Center’s Future Capabilities chief.

Brownfield noted the Army’s network currently uses Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MIMO) radios as a mid-tier transport to enable command post dispersion and to share common-operation-picture data with mobile maneuver forces. C5ISR Center engineers were able to simulate this setup by placing the technologies in a «highly dynamic, mobile environment».

«The data we’re collecting will enable us to better understand how the stressed, contested and congested network will meet a multitude of emerging Army expeditionary mission requirements», said Brownfield, who noted the findings will support network design for Capability Sets 23 and 25.

The effort is a continuation in a series of experiments conducted by the NGCV CFT and DEVCOM’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC), to assess the effectiveness of RCV platforms at the platoon level and higher. The network-focused experiment will help to refine system requirements, reduce risk to performance and identify spectrum demands leading up to the MUM-T Phase II Soldier Operational Experiment (SOE II), at Fort Hood, Texas, in fiscal year 2022.

«We’re trying to determine how much bandwidth we can allocate to each one of our sections and then build those sections up to platoons, so this experiment is absolutely critical for us. It is one of our key enablers and proof of principle, ensuring we have enough technical data and validity around our concepts, so we know it is reasonable and fieldable», said Christopher Ostrowski, associate director of experimental prototyping for DEVCOM GVSC.

Ostrowski said GVSC’s partnership with the C5ISR Center is a great example of «what DEVCOM does for the Army, and especially for the CFTs and our PEO colleagues».

«It’s a whole-enterprise, holistic approach to capability development from initial concept to transition to the acquisition system, and it gives our warfighters unparalleled capability that they can rely upon».

MUM-T modernizes the Army’s current fleet of vehicles to include the ability to control unmanned RCVs. The capability will positively impact Army survivability, providing Soldiers standoff to reduce the risk of casualties, allowing maneuver commanders the time and space to make critical decisions and potentially increasing the number and diversity of multi-mission payloads employed on the battlefield, said Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Orlowski, product manager for Robotic Combat Vehicles under Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems (PEO GCS).

«We don’t want Soldiers on a manned system to make contact with the enemy first. We want RCVs to make contact with the enemy first, and radio performance is critical to enabling CVs to do so», Orlowski said. «If we can make contact with robots forward first, whether those are air or ground robots, then we can provide commanders time and space to make decisions».

C5ISR Center resources have played a key role in helping the NGCV CFT develop a communication backbone to control RCVs that is «secure, reliable and resilient while able to support operations at relevant distances in the future environment», said Colonel Warren Sponsler, NGCV CFT’s chief of staff.

«A priority for AFC and the NGCV CFT has been to conduct experimentation and Solider touchpoints as often as we can. This allows us to learn early, learn fast and be willing to fail fast. If things don’t work, we make adjustments as needed and continue the momentum forward», Sponsler said. «We’ve been able to really capitalize on great work and partnership with the C5ISR Center. It has helped increase our warfighters’ ability to see the enemy first, make decisions faster and then execute lethal operations».

As a follow-on to the experiment, C5ISR Center engineers are working to integrate the radios tested onto vehicles in preparation for a safety release later this year in support of the SOE II event. Lessons learned from the experiment will also help support execution for Project Convergence 21.

Joint Precision System

The U.S. Navy declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) on May 4, signaling the system’s ready to provide precision approach and landing capabilities to tactical carrier aircraft at sea in support of naval aviation operations worldwide.

An F-35C Lightning II from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147 lands on the flight deck of Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) while underway in the Pacific Ocean conducting routine operations in the U.S Third Fleet

JPALS is a global positioning system-based system that integrates with shipboard air traffic control and landing system architectures to guide fixed-wing tactical carrier aircraft with pinpoint approach and landings on nuclear aircraft carriers (CVN) and amphibious assault ships (LHA/LHD) in all weather and sea surface conditions.

«JPALS has reached a historic milestone, which supports our requirement to deliver, operate and maintain a Navy with a focus on our core roles of sea control and power projection», said Commander Jeff «Doogie» Dugard, Director of the Naval Airspace and Air Traffic Control Standards and Evaluation Agency. Dugard worked closely with the Naval Air Traffic Management Systems Program Office (PMA)-213 to ensure all requirements were met to demonstrate that JPALS will safely and effectively support U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aviation at sea.

The initial operational capability was declared by Rear Admiral Gregory Harris, Director Air Warfare Division, N98, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, following the successful installation, integration and flight certification of the first JPALS production unit aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) in December 2020. After the flight certification, the JPALS team continued working with the Navy’s operational test community to demonstrate that the F-35C could effectively conduct at-sea precision approaches to the flight deck, and that adequate manning, training and sustainment infrastructure were in place to support and sustain JPALS operations while globally deployed.

The JPALS IOC declaration is the culmination of many years of system development and testing activities that began in 2008. The JPALS team has successfully provided a critical combat capability to the U.S. Naval Fleet, delivering the IOC capability nearly a year ahead of the planned threshold while overcoming many challenges including delivering, installing, testing and certifying systems during a persistent global pandemic.

«The achievement of JPALS IOC is a positive reflection on the hard work, innovation and resilience from a dedicated team of government and industry professionals who have developed and fielded this critical capability to the Warfighters», said Captain Kevin Watkins, PMA-213 program manager.

JPALS has been supporting F-35B Lightning II deployments on LH-class amphibious assault ships with an early operational capability since 2016, and will now provide the all-weather, precision navigation, approach and landing capability for all F-35C Lightning II deployments on CVNs as well. JPALS will also support future operations with the Navy’s unmanned MQ-25A Stingray aboard CVNs.

Two more H160s

The French Armament General Directorate (DGA) has confirmed an option to Airbus Helicopters, Babcock and Safran Helicopter Engines for two more H160s for the French Navy. These aircraft will join the fleet of four H160s already contracted in 2020, the first of which is currently being assembled by Airbus Helicopters in Marignane, in the south of France. The six H160s will be delivered in a Search and Rescue (SAR) configuration and will gradually start operating from May 2022 from Lanveoc-Poulmic naval air station (Britany), Cherbourg airport (Normandy) and Hyères naval air station (Provence). Awaiting the H160M «Guépard» deliveries in the frame of the French Joint Light Helicopter (Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger: HIL) programme, these H160s will take over the SAR missions currently conducted by the NH90s and Panthers, allowing these combat helicopters to fulfill their main tasks at sea on board combat vessels.

Airbus H160
Two more H160s for the French Navy

The French Navy’s operational feedback with these H160s will benefit the design of the military version of the aircraft and its associated support system.

The H160s were ordered by Babcock in 2018 and will be maintained and equipped in partnership with Airbus Helicopters, and Safran Helicopters Engines ensuring the highest level of availability for the French Navy and the continuity of SAR operations on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean coasts. Built by Airbus Helicopters, the six H160s will be equipped with a winch and a modular cabin that can be optimized for each mission. The H160s will be certified for use of night vision goggles which are necessary for winching operations at night.

The six H160s will be modified into a light military configuration by Babcock, a provider of critical, complex engineering services to governments, to answer to the needs of the French Navy. Babcock will integrate the Safran Electronics & Defense new generation electro-optical system, Euroflir 410.

The H160, as a next generation medium twin-engine aircraft, powered by Arrano engines, is modular by design in order to address missions ranging from offshore transportation, private and business aviation, emergency medical services, and public services.

169 H160Ms, «Guépard», are foreseen in the frame of the HIL programme to replace five types of helicopters in service with the French armed forces.


Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced today the debut of the Proteus Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) for testing and development of autonomy capabilities. The 27-foot/8.2-meter Proteus USV was outfitted with Sea Machines Robotics’ SM300 autonomy system and completed a successful demonstration on Friday, May 14 off the coast of Panama City, Florida.

Proteus USV
Huntington Ingalls Industries, Technical Solutions has debuted their Proteus USV, an unmanned surface vessel that will be used for testing and development of autonomy capabilities

«We are thrilled to launch our Proteus USV. The vessel performed exactly as expected with the SM300 system’s proven and safe autonomous capability», said Duane Fotheringham, president of the Unmanned Systems business group in HII’s Technical Solutions division. «This marks a significant milestone in our commitment to advancing our unmanned systems capabilities and our continued partnership with Sea Machines to further develop USV solutions for our customers».

For the demonstration, HII’s Proteus USV was equipped with commercial perception sensors, including GPS, automatic identification system, depth transducer, radar and a camera enabling a 360-degree field of view. HII deployed a separate 51-foot/15.5-meter dive boat during the demonstration to illustrate SM300 system’s off-the-shelf solution including its obstacle avoidance capability and adherence to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

«Our autonomy systems are built around core principles of capability, reliability and ease of use», Sea Machines CEO Michael G. Johnson said. «This initial Proteus USV demonstration proved the SM300 system performs as promised, and we look forward to our continued partnership with HII – supporting current and coming 21st century operational requirements on water».

The Proteus USV will enable HII’s continued development of autonomy capabilities and sensor fusion to support the evolving needs of both government and commercial customers.

HII announced its minority share investment in Sea Machines in July 2020. Sea Machines’ SM300 system can be outfitted to ocean capable vessels to enable scalable autonomy, from remotely controlled to fully autonomous vessel operations.

Missile Warning Satellite

Following a successful launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida earlier on May 18, 2021, the U.S. Space Force’s Space Delta 4 operations team is now «talking» with the fifth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SBIRS GEO-5) satellite.

Lockheed Martin’s SBIRS GEO-5 missile warning spacecraft is the first military space satellite built on a modernized LM 2100 Combat Bus space vehicle

As planned, SBIRS GEO-5 – built by Lockheed Martin – is responding to the Delta’s commands. Signal acquisition was confirmed approximately ~36 minutes after the satellite’s 1:37 p.m. EDT launch aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. Now separated from the rocket, the satellite is continuing on to orbit under its own propulsion.

SBIRS GEO-5 is the latest satellite to join the Space Force’s orbiting Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) missile warning constellation equipped with powerful scanning and staring surveillance sensors. These 24-7, always-on, orbital guardians detect missile launches, support ballistic missile defense, expand technical intelligence gathering and bolster situational awareness on the battlefield.

«The world is a more threatening place now with more than 1,000 ballistic missile launches occurring globally every year», said Tom McCormick, vice president of Lockheed Martin Space’s OPIR Mission Area. «SBIRS is the tip of the missile defense spear, seeing all those missiles and providing our military the ability to ensure our national security and the safety of our armed forces».


Faster, More Resilient Missile Warning

Built in about five years, SBIRS GEO-5 is the first military space satellite built on an LM 2100 Combat Bus, a version of Lockheed Martin’s modernized, modular LM 2100 space vehicle with greatly enhanced resiliency.

The LM 2100 bus is the result of a Lockheed Martin internally-funded, multi-year modernization initiative. Features include:

  • Greater resiliency and cyber-hardening;
  • Enhanced spacecraft power, propulsion and electronics;
  • Common components and procedures to streamline manufacturing;
  • Flexible design that reduces the cost to incorporate future, modernized sensor suites.

«We designed our modernized LM2100 bus with our military customers’ changing, more-contested environment, in mind», said McCormick. «By adding enhanced resiliency features to the LM 2100 we created an initial ‘combat bus’ for the Space Force for even greater capability».

SBIRS GEO-5 is a step toward achieving the resilient missile warning to be provided by SBIRS’ follow on, the Next Gen OPIR Block 0 System. SBIRS GEO-6, launching in 2022, and the first three Next Gen OPIR Block 0 GEO satellites, as well as the future GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) satellites, are also based on the LM 2100 Combat Bus.

Lockheed Martin is proud to be part of the SBIRS team led by the Production Corps, Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Division, at the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. Lockheed Martin Space, Sunnyvale, California, is the SBIRS prime contractor, with Northrop Grumman, Azusa, California, as the payload integrator.