As Lockheed Martin continues the work with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to advance the unique hypersonic technologies of its Operational Fires (OpFires) program, the company today announced its initial round of key subcontractors on the program. OpFires seeks to develop and demonstrate an innovative ground-launched system to enable a hypersonic boost glide missile system to penetrate modern enemy air defenses and rapidly engage time-sensitive targets.
Joining prime contractor Lockheed Martin on the OpFires Phase Three Weapon System Integration program are Northrop Grumman, Dynetics, and Electronic Concepts & Engineering, Inc (ECE).
«The engineering innovation required to deliver this maneuverable and rapid-response solution demands a best-of-industry team», said Steven Botwinik, director of Tactical and Strike Missiles Advanced Programs. «OpFires and its unique throttleable booster make it a versatile platform to launch a variety of payloads over varied ranges and for this reason, OpFires is well-suited to address the Army’s Medium Range Strategic Fires needs».
Specifically, the new subcontractors on the program will support the technology development in the following ways:
Northrop Grumman in Elkton, Md., will develop the stage one solid rocket motor;
Dynetics in Huntsville, Ala., will deliver the cannister, all up round and fins, and support integration and test; and
ECE, a small business based in Holland, Ohio, will provide the booster power pyro module.
Lockheed Martin has played a significant role in the research, development and demonstration of hypersonic technologies for more than 30 years. The corporation has made significant investments in key technology and capability development – including hypersonic strike capabilities and defense systems against emerging hypersonic threats and is supporting all branches of the U.S. military on these hypersonic programs.
The company expects to complete its first live fire in 2021.
The Space Development Agency (SDA) awarded a Tranche 0 contract of the Space Transport Layer to Lockheed Martin to demonstrate a mesh network of 10 small satellites that links terrestrial warfighting domains to space sensors – all launching in just two years.
The $187.5-million contract for Transport Layer’s Tranche 0 is an initial test and demonstration phase, with two prime contractors building a total of 20 satellites. The first step toward building an interoperable, connected secure mesh network, it will help enable Joint All-Domain Operations, allowing warfighters to stay ahead of emerging threats. By linking nodes together, seamless connectivity is created between all domains, much like today’s smartphones.
«We see a world across all warfighting domains where fourth and fifth-generation fighters and tactical forces on the ground can connect seamlessly with holistic situational awareness», said Kay Sears, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Military Space. «Interoperability and battlespace connectivity are critical to staying ahead of our adversaries».
The 10 satellites, operating in Low Earth Orbit, will provide secure high-bandwidth, low-latency data links. Additionally, new Link 16 network connectivity will be introduced to space. This capability will connect to systems that include fighter aircraft like F-16, F-22, and F-35, missile defense networks like PAC-3 and THAAD, weapons systems, and Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) networks, and will provide sensor-to-shooter targeting and situational awareness for tactical land and maritime warfighters.
Changing the Dynamics of Warfighting
This beyond-line-of-site tracking, targeting and communications will dramatically extend U.S. warfighting options and allows additional coalition and allied partners to eventually bring their capabilities into the network. Interoperability extends into space with prospective data connections to commercial satellite communications (SATCOM) and other military protected satcom systems, which will require close partnership with multiple companies across industry.
How Software Adds Flexibility to Missions
Each Transport Layer satellite will be fully-software defined, using SmartSat, Lockheed Martin’s software-defined platform that makes it easier to dynamically add and quickly change missions in orbit through simple app uploads. The satellites will also be fully cyber-hardened from day one using Lockheed Martin’s Cyber Resiliency Level model to identify cyber strengths and weaknesses so we can address those early in the design process.
The Transport Layer contributes to resilience in space communications. Mission resilience comes from being able to form a seamless network of networks, with network nodes spanning multiple domains and services provided via multiple tactical data links, making it much harder for an adversary to disrupt because of network diversity and node distribution.
September 1, 2020, DARPA and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) announced successful completion of captive carry tests of two variants of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) and are ready to proceed to first free-flight testing within the calendar year. The joint Agency and Service effort seeks to develop and demonstrate critical technologies to enable an effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missile.
HAWC performers Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies have each tested advanced air vehicle configurations that promise to achieve and sustain efficient hypersonic flight. Their upcoming flight tests will focus on hydrocarbon scramjet-powered propulsion and thermal management techniques to enable prolonged hypersonic cruise, in addition to affordable system designs and manufacturing approaches.
«Completing the captive carry series of tests demonstrates both HAWC designs are ready for free flight», said Andrew «Tippy» Knoedler, HAWC program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. «These tests provide us a large measure of confidence – already well informed by years of simulation and wind tunnel work – that gives us faith the unique design path we embarked on will provide unmatched capability to U.S. forces».
The HAWC program, since inception, has been executed as a joint program between DARPA and the USAF. In addition, DARPA is working in cooperation with military services and agencies, including the Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Navy, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to validate, and eventually transition key technologies. The extensive flight data collected is intended to increase the confidence in air-breathing hypersonic systems and reduce the risks to potential future acquisition programs across the U.S. government.
The U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $183 million contract to produce High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers and associated hardware.
Lockheed Martin will produce and build 28 HIMARS at its Precision Fires Center of Excellence in Camden, Arkansas. The contract calls for launcher and associated equipment delivery starting in late 2022 for the U.S. Marine Corps and international customer.
«The Army’s commitment to the HIMARS launcher through 2050 reflects our customers’ confidence in Lockheed Martin’s highly reliable, combat-proven precision strike systems and munitions», said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
«These new HIMARS launchers will provide unmatched mobile firepower in support of multi-domain operations, and our allies can count on Lockheed Martin’s continued support in maintaining these combat-proven systems», said Campbell.
HIMARS is a lightweight mobile launcher, transportable via C-130 and larger aircraft for rapid deployment, that fires Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets, Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles, the next-generation Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) and Extended-Range GMLRS rockets. HIMARS consists of a launcher loader module and fire control system mounted on a five-ton truck chassis. A specialized armored cab provides additional protection to the three crew members that operate the system.
For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions, providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems like MLRS, HIMARS, ATACMS and GMLRS to domestic and international customers.
The 411th Flight Test Squadron in conjunction with the 412th Range Squadron achieved the first successful flight of the Common Range Integrated Instrumentation System (CRIIS) at Edwards Air Force Base, California, August 5. This event marked the first flight of the CRIIS at the Edwards Flight Test Range, and it was also the first flight on a fifth-generation fighter platform.
«This successful CRIIS flight test ensures that the 412th Range Squadron will achieve Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for CRIIS and continue the legacy of providing leading edge Time-Space-Position Information (TSPI) capability for Edwards Flight Test Range customers that was started almost 30 years ago with the IOC of the nation’s first Advance Range Data System (ARDS) Global Position System», said Randall Heiling, 412th Range Squadron’s master architect.
CRIIS is a tri-service Test and Evaluation range system designed to replace the aging ARDS. The CRIIS system can downlink and relay aircraft TSPI, as well as other aircraft data to a test range ground station.
«CRIIS will enable F-22 Raptor flight testing for the foreseeable future», said Zachary Rumble, 775th Test Squadron, and F-22 Raptor Navigation Subject Matter Expert. «In initial testing, CRIIS appears to be more accurate than the legacy ARDS plate, with more room for growth».
Recent CRIIS flight testing has proven the ability of the system to record highly accurate TSPI on board the F-22 Raptor. A live stream test of CRIIS data from an F-22 Raptor to a mission control room is on track for later this summer.
«The CRIIS is truly a needed upgrade for the test enterprise», said Lieutenant Colonel David Schmitt, 411th FLTS and F-22 Raptor Combined Test Flight Director of Operations. «The ability to record and utilize TSPI in real-time is a foundational piece of what we do. It is a critical enabler, which unlocks many of the tools the experts use to verify the performance of everything from fire control radars, to datalinks, to new or upgraded munitions. This was the first flight at Edwards of what will hopefully be a long legacy of CRIIS performance across the test enterprise».
CRIIS is currently in the final stages of achieving IOC at Edwards, Eglin AFB, Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Aircraft Division Patuxent River, Nellis Test and Training Range, NAWC Weapons Division (WD) China Lake, NAWCWD Point Mugu, and White Sands Test Center. CRIIS is being deployed on aircraft platforms such as the F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and F/A-18 Super Hornet. The CRIIS is expected to set a new tri-service standard for test range TSPI instrumentation.
Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 21, the future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul, completed acceptance trials in Lake Michigan. Trials included a full-power run, maneuverability testing, and surface and air detect-to-engage demonstrations of the ship’s combat system. Major systems and features were demonstrated, including aviation support, small boat launch handling and recovery and machinery control and automation. Now that trials are complete, the ship will undergo final outfitting and fine-tuning before delivery to the U.S. Navy. USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS-21) is the eleventh Freedom-variant LCS designed and built by the Lockheed Martin-led industry team and is slated for delivery to the U.S. Navy early next year.
«LCS-21 joins a fleet of sister ships delivering unique flexibility and capability to the U.S. Navy», said Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager, Small Combatants and Ship Systems. «Freedom-variant LCS are inherently capable to serve freedom of navigation, drug interdiction and humanitarian missions, and with additional capabilities onboarded, they can serve further focused missions. On LCS 21’s acceptance trials, we successfully tested the ship’s maneuverability, automation and core combat capability».
The Freedom-variant LCS has completed four successful deployments, including LCS-7 (USS Detroit)’s deployment completed this summer. LCS-7 deployed to the U.S. Southern Command supporting the Martillo campaign – a multinational effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in Central American coastal waters.
Regarding LCS’ capabilities, U.S. Southern Commander Admiral Craig Faller recently stated, «LCS has proven to be an effective and adaptable platform capable of multiple missions in our area of responsibility. It has become an end-game enabler for U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement authorities who disrupt transnational criminal organizations and the smuggling of deadly narcotics. Adding the LCS to our Enhanced Counter Narcotics Operation is helping save lives».
Unique among combat ships, the focused-mission LCS is designed to support mine countermeasures, anti-submarine and surface warfare missions and is easily adapted to serve future and evolving missions. The Freedom-variant LCS is:
Flexible – Forty percent of the hull is easily reconfigurable, able to integrate Longbow Hellfire Missiles, 30-mm guns, manned and unmanned vehicles designed to meet today’s and tomorrow’s missions.
Lethal – LCS is standard equipped with Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) and a Mark 110 gun, capable of firing 220 rounds per minute.
Powerful – LCS has gas turbines, diesel engines and water jets that together generate 85 MW/113,600 horsepower making LCS capable of speeds in excess of /46 mph/74 km/h.
Automated – LCS has the most efficient staffing of any combat ship.
«I am pleased to see another successful acceptance trials on Lake Michigan», said Jan Allman, CEO of Fincantieri Marinette Marine. «Together with our partners, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy, our proud shipbuilding team puts in long hours to deliver a proven warship for the fleet».
Ship Design Specifications
Advanced semiplaning steel monohull
389 feet/118.6 m
57 feet/17.5 m
13.5 feet/4.1 m
Full Load Displacement
Approximately 3,200 metric tons
Greater than 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range at top speed
1,000 NM/1,151 miles/1,852 km
Range at cruise speed
4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km
Watercraft Launch and Recovery
Up to Sea State 4
Aircraft Launch and Recovery
Up to Sea State 5
Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
85 MW/113,600 horsepower
Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters
One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Less than 50
Accommodations for 75 sailors provide higher sailor quality of life than current fleet
Integrated Bridge System
Fully digital nautical charts are interfaced to ship sensors to support safe ship operation
Core Self-Defense Suite
Includes 3D air search radar
Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) gunfire control system
A team of pilots and engineers from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River recently completed a crucial series of sea trials of the CH-53K King Stallion that not only provided them with valuable developmental test information about the aircraft, but could change the way the squadron conducts similar tests in the future.
The test team of 96 personnel embarked on the USS Wasp (LHD-1) in early June to conduct an intensive series of tests that were designed to establish the helicopter’s performance envelope for day and night launches and recoveries at a wide range of wind speeds, to test engaging, disengaging, folding, and unfolding the rotors in a variety of wind conditions, and to allow maintenance crews from Sikorsky and Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron (VMX) 1 to practice working on the aircraft in at-sea conditions.
«We went to sea with a robust test plan», said Maj Joshua «Felon» Foxton, CH-53K King Stallion sea trials project officer. «Typically, you include more test points than you can reasonably expect to accomplish, which gives us greater flexibility in executing the plan. But due largely to the success of the aircraft, we were able to accomplish all of our objectives while we were underway».
Over the course of the 14-day detachment, the team members who were embarked on Wasp accomplished just over 32 hours of flying, well over a third of which were flown at night. Altogether, the team achieved 364 landings, of which 74 were conducted using night vision devices. The team successfully launched and recovered to all spots, and was able to launch 13 sorties in the first eight days of ship-based maintenance.
Foxton praised the CH-53K’s performance, noting that the responsive and well-tuned fly-by-wire controls make shipboard landings much easier and more precise than is possible with many other helicopters. «It’s a real testament to the stability of the aircraft», Foxton said.
Lieutenant Colonel Fred «NOVAC» Neubert, department head and government lead test pilot for the CH-53K King Stallion program, agreed with Foxton’s assessment. «There may be other aircraft out there with similar performance capabilities, but I have not flown a helicopter with the outstanding handling qualities that the 53K provides», Neubert said.
The aircraft performed so well, in fact, that the test team succeeded in testing nearly all of the aircraft’s launch and recovery envelope expansion – the team’s primary test objective – within the first seven days of the trip, leaving the second week to thoroughly pursue the other objectives. As a result, the test team was able to devote more time to identifying refinements and minor improvements to suggest to the manufacturer than it otherwise would have had. Foxton recalled how, during one post-flight debriefing, one of the team’s veteran flight engineers pointed out, «Do you realize we just spent 15 minutes talking about whether we could improve the windshield wipers»?
«We were able to focus on those little things because the big things took care of themselves», Foxton said.
Teamwork was another major factor in the detachment’s success. «It can sometimes take weeks or months for a team to coalesce, but we had 14 days underway to forge a team», Foxton said. «Thanks to the professionalism of the contractors, our Marine counterparts in VMX-1, and our colleagues in the Navy, we were able to accomplish everything so thoroughly that we were actually ably to fly the aircraft off a day earlier than we had planned. That was inspiring».
Neubert and Foxton also had plenty of praise for the Wasp’s crew. «The crew was amazing», Foxton said. «They carefully negotiated winds and weather for us in order to get the ship in the exact position with the conditions we needed for every test point. Their true professionalism enabled all of our successes».
«One of the things that stands out about this detachment was the quality of the ship’s crew from the leadership on down, their commitment to figuring out a way to make it work no matter what we needed», Neubert said. «I think that reflects the command culture. The ship’s commanding officer, Captain Greg Baker, likes to get to ‘Yes.’ Every department embodied that mentality».
The envelope expansion testing that the team accomplished has resulted in the largest fleet envelope for any Navy and Marine Corps helicopter currently in existence, according to the squadron.
«I think this detachment is going to rewrite how we plan a test phase», Foxton said. «It’s an opportunity for us to find very specific efficiencies in our testing, which will in turn increase our speed to the fleet».
Neubert agreed. «In flight test, we specialize in risk mitigation and preparing for how we will respond to something that goes wrong», Neubert explained. «What we discovered in this test is that in the future, we’ll want to spend more time planning how we will we respond if something goes unexpectedly great».
«Our objective is to provide the fleet Marines with a safer and more effective platform with greater operational capability, and this detachment was a successful example of that», Neubert said. «This is why we do flight test – because we come from the fleet, and we want to give good products back to the fleet».
Approximately 3,000 feet/914 meters above Eglin Air Force Base, the HH-60W Jolly Green II connected with a HC-130J tanker for the inaugural aerial refueling by the Air Force’s newest combat search and rescue helicopter, August 5.
The connection marked the start of two weeks of developmental testing of the aircraft’s aerial refueling abilities by 413th Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) testers and their mission partners.
«This capability is essential for the Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) mission since it greatly extends the operating range of the aircraft and thus allows the unit to extend their rescue capabilities over a larger battlespace», said Joe Whiteaker, 413th FLTS Combat Rescue Helicopter flight chief.
Throughout the tests, the aircrew and engineers will evaluate the helicopter’s ability to connect with the fuel drogue and its handling qualities during the fueling. They also monitor the functionality of the systems and gauges to ensure the aircraft receives the fuel appropriately with the proper pressures.
«Our job is to evaluate how difficult aerial refueling will be for operational pilots and to identify any unforeseen hazards due to the unique configuration of the HH-60W Jolly Green II, which may not have been present in the legacy HH-60G Pave Hawk», Whiteaker said.
Early missions will be during daylight hours. Testing will conclude with a nighttime evaluation using night vision goggles.
«This is a critical test milestone for the program as it reinforces the superior capabilities of the HH-60W Jolly Green II and its ability to support the Air Force’s CSAR mission», said Greg Hames, Sikorsky Combat Rescue Helicopter program director.
Major Andrew Fama, 413th FLTS pilot, was the Air Force pilot for the refueling mission. He evaluated the handling qualities and made the first contacts. He and the aircrew spent extra time preparing for the mission that included talking through the test sequence and rehearsing the phraseology used during the refueling. It was that extra time spent that made for a smooth mission without issues, according to Fama.
«It’s rare for a test pilot to have the opportunity to test a new aircraft replacing the one he or she flew operationally and to be the first one to do something like this», Fama said. «It was an honor to be the pilot to fly this mission and work with a truly professional test team».
The aerial refueling mission marks yet another 2020 milestone for the HH-60W Jolly Green II program. So far, the HH-60W Jolly Green II has undergone radar, weather and defensive system testing to name a few.
«The execution of this critical test is yet another demonstration of our successful partnership with the Air Force and brings us one step closer to delivering this much needed helicopter to our Airmen», Hames said.
MBDA Deutschland and Lockheed Martin, the TLVS bidders consortium (TLVS JV), have submitted an updated proposal to the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw). The proposal includes development, test, certification and delivery of Germany’s future Integrated Air and Missile Defense system.
«More than 80 subcontractors will support the TLVS program. At peak performance, more than 6,000 highly qualified employees will benefit from the implementation of TLVS, with the majority in Germany. A broad spectrum of industrial capabilities is to be involved covering system of systems engineering, cybersecurity, digitization, as well as cutting edge radar, optical and electrical engineering including small and medium suppliers. With these capabilities the TLVS program will ensure defense against advanced and future air and missile threats», said Thomas Gottschild, managing director MBDA Deutschland. «In the last months we made progress in further detailing the Integrated Master Schedule, relevant specifications as well as performance simulations to de-risk the future contract».
Current threats demand a mobile IAMD system that is full 360-degree capable and based on an open network-centric architecture. Only the TLVS system has these capabilities and the ability to rapidly adapt to the ever-changing threat environments.
«Supporting Germany’s essential security interests, the TLVS Joint Venture between MBDA Deutschland and Lockheed Martin builds on our proud legacy of partnership with Germany to create jobs, share technical expertise and deliver capabilities to benefit industry on both sides of the Atlantic», said Scott Arnold, vice president, Integrated Air and Missile Defense, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «TLVS is a demonstrated, modern system that can transform Germany’s defense capabilities and enable Germany as the NATO Framework Nation for Air & Missile Defense».
Designed to replace Germany’s aging, sectored Patriot systems designed in the late 1960s, the 2020 TLVS proposal provides protection from a broader threat spectrum with two mission-specific effectors, significantly enhanced sensor capabilities for long range engagements and a new communications and Battle Management system to support enhanced interoperability, data fusion and cyber resilience. TLVS will transform Germany’s defense capabilities and set an important precedent in how neighboring nations address persistent global threats for years to come.
Lockheed Martin is building mission payloads for a Space Engineering Research Center at University of Southern California (USC) Information Sciences Institute small satellite program called La Jument, which enhance Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) space technologies.
For the program, four La Jument nanosatellites – the first launching later this year – will use Lockheed Martin’s SmartSat software-defined satellite architecture on both their payload and bus. SmartSat lets satellite operators quickly change missions while in orbit with the simplicity of starting, stopping or uploading new applications.
The system is powered by the NVIDIA Jetson platform built on the CUDA-X capable software stack and supported by the NVIDIA JetPack Software Development Kit (SDK), delivering powerful AI at the edge computing capabilities to unlock advanced image and digital signal processing.
SmartSat provides on-board cyber threat detection, while the software-defined payload houses advanced optical and infrared cameras utilized by Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Center (ATC) to further mature and space qualify Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies. The La Jument payloads are the latest of more than 300 payloads Lockheed Martin has built for customers.
«La Jument and SmartSat are pushing new boundaries of what is possible in space when you adopt an open software architecture that lets you change missions on the fly», said Adam Johnson, Director of SmartSat and La Jument at Lockheed Martin Space. «We are excited to release a SmartSat software development kit to encourage developers to write their own third-party mission apps and offer an orbital test-bed».
Powering Artificial Intelligence at the Edge
La Jument satellites will enable AI/ML algorithms in orbit because of advanced multi-core processing and on-board Graphics Processing Units (GPU). One app being tested in orbit will be SuperRes, an algorithm developed by Lockheed Martin that can automatically enhance the quality of an image, like some smartphone camera apps. SuperRes enables exploitation and detection of imagery produced by lower-cost, lower-quality image sensors.
«We were able to design, build and integrate the first payload for La Jument in five months», said Sonia Phares, Vice President of Engineering and Technology at Lockheed Martin Space. «Satellites like this demonstrate our approach to rapid development and innovation that lets us solve our customers’ toughest challenges faster than ever».
Bringing Four Satellites Together
The first of the four La Jument nanosatellites is a student-designed and built 1.5U CubeSat that will be launched with a SmartSat payload to test the complete system from ground to space, including ground station communications links and commanding SmartSat infrastructure while in-orbit. The second is a 3U nanosat, the size of three small milk cartons stacked on top of each other, with optical payloads connected to SmartSat that will allow AI/ML in-orbit testing. Finally, two 6U CubeSats are being designed jointly with USC that will be launched mid-2022. The pair will launch together and incorporate future research from USC and Lockheed Martin, including new SmartSat apps, sensors and bus technologies.
Lockheed Martin has a long history of creating small satellites, having launched more than 150. More recent nanosat projects include Pony Express 1, Linus, NASA’s Lun-IR, Janus and Grail. Additionally, Lockheed Martin will be the prime integrator for DARPA’s Blackjack small sat constellation.