Tag Archives: Lockheed Martin

Missile Defense Radar

On May 26, 2022, the Search Track Acquire Radiate Eliminate (STARE) Project Office, U.S. Army Sentinel Product Office received the first five radars of its initial contract with Lockheed Martin. The Sentinel A4 radar is developed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin in Syracuse, New York, and has been on an accelerated schedule since the project was awarded in September 2019.

Sentinel A4
Lockheed Martin Delivers First Five Sentinel A4 Air & Missile Defense Radars To U.S. Army, Providing Improved Capability As Part Of The Army’s Modernization Efforts

«We are one step closer to getting this enhanced capability to our warfighters», stated Leah Cook, Sentinel Product Director for the U.S. Army Sentinel A4 program office. «The delivery of the first five radars is a result of collaboration and a continued commitment to the U.S. Army».

The U.S. Army and Lockheed Martin have a strong partnership founded on collaboration and trust. The process has included virtual reviews and working groups to maintain momentum through all program development phases.

«Our team understands the criticality of this technology and the need to get it fielded», said Mark Mekker, director of Army Radars for Lockheed Martin. «Our soldiers are in unpredictable environments, and the Sentinel A4 will provide improved eyes on the field to keep them safe».

 

What’s Next?

Lockheed Martin will support the Army in the government test program phase into early 2023. The radars will undergo mobility, environmental, radar performance and logistics testing. Production of the next five radar systems is already underway, and delivery is expected to begin in March 2023.

 

Future Forward to Protect Against Evolving Threats

The Sentinel A4’s open scalable radar architecture is the cornerstone of the radar system’s design and allows for addressing evolving threats with software modifications only.

The new air and missile defense radar will provide improved capability over the previous iteration, the Sentinel A3. It will outperform the legacy radar, delivering improvements in contested environments against cruise missiles, unmanned aerial systems, rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft, and rocket, artillery, and mortar threats. This includes enhanced surveillance, detection, and classification capabilities to protect U.S. Army maneuver formations.

 

Efficiencies & Cost Savings

Lockheed Martin radars are designed with a high degree of commonality. The company’s TPY-4 ground based air surveillance radar was built and validated under Lockheed Martin investment and significantly leveraged the Sentinel A4 radar design.

«Commonality across the radar portfolio enable sustainment efficiencies and significant cost savings for our customers. Our scalable technology, coupled with these efficiencies, has resulted in significant international interest in both the Sentinel A4 and TPY-4 radars to replace older assets that simply cannot be upgraded to match what our next generation systems are offering», said Chandra Marshall, Vice President and General Manager of Lockheed Martin’s Radar and Sensor Systems business.

Lockheed Martin continues to invest significantly in the advancement of its software-defined radar technology, including its automated manufacturing processes which improves quality and will lead to even further cost reductions.

Sentinel-A4

Tomahawk Block V

The UK’s stock of Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) will be upgraded on Royal Navy submarines to ensure the weapon is even more effective against future threats.

Tomahawk Block V
£265 million missile upgrade for UK submarines

In a £265 million contract with the U.S. Government, with maintenance and technical support at the UK sites of BAE Systems, Babcock International and Lockheed Martin, the Royal Navy’s Astute-Class submarines will be armed with an enhanced Block V standard missile, capable of striking severe threats at a range of up to 1,000 miles/1,609 km.

The upgraded missile will be able to travel further than the previous Block IV iteration, maintaining a precision-strike capability that is unmatched in range and accuracy. The upgrade will also make the weapon less vulnerable to external threats, with modernised in-flight communication and target selection.

At approximately 5.6 m/18.4 feet long and weighing 2,200 kg/4,850 lbs. – a similar weight to a 4×4 car – the high sub-sonic Tomahawk was first introduced into UK service in 1998 and can hit in-land targets from the sea within minutes. A weapon of choice since then, it has been successfully deployed during operations in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq.

Minister for Defence (MOD) Procurement, Jeremy Quin, said: «This upgrade will equip our Astute-Class attack submarines with the one of the most lethal and precise long-range strike weapons. Enhancing this cutting-edge missile system will ensure the UK can strike severe threats up to 1,000 miles/1,609 km away. The Tomahawk missiles will be upgraded as part of a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) with the U.S. Government, which was negotiated by the MOD’s procurement arm, Defence Equipment and Support and will be active from July. Making use of existing U.S. research and expertise on the upgraded missile, the contract will mean the UK continues to receive full access to the U.S. Tomahawk programme, support package and upgrades».

DE&S Director Weapons, Ed Cutts, said: «Not only will this FMS sustain and improve a proven, crucial operational capability for any future conflicts, it will continue to ensure interoperability with our U.S. allies and the follow-on support arrangements will sustain jobs for UK industry. As Block IV is upgraded to Block V from 2024, it will modernise and improve in-flight communications and navigation, making the missile more effective against future threats around the globe. The Foreign Military Sale also includes missile maintenance, recertification of existing missiles, spares, operational flight testing, software, hardware and training provisions».

Director Submarines, Rear Admiral Simon Asquith said: «The Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missile is a cutting-edge system which provides the UK with real strategic and operational choice. Able to be fired from a stealthy UK nuclear attack submarine, the system’s exceptional range, accuracy and survivability provides the UK, alongside our US Allies, with a world beating precision strike capability. The announcement builds on commitments made in the Defence Command Paper and Integrated Review, in addition to Royal Navy mission planning and weapon control system upgrades that will improve the performance of legacy Block IV missiles. Due to be operational in the mid-2020s, the upgraded Tomahawk will align with the delivery of the latest Astute submarines».

Littoral Combat Ship

The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS-21) in Duluth, Minnesota, May 21, 2022.

USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS-21)
The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest littoral combat ship USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS-21) in Duluth, Minnesota, May 21, 2022

Representative Betty McCollum, Minnesota 4th District, was the principal speaker for the commissioning ceremony.

«The strength of America’s national security, and the democratic values we hold dear, are being tested today like they have not been in decades», said McCollum. «I can think of no two names that represent that strength more than Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Together we are one team – those who built this fine ship, and those who will serve on her. It is the strength and determination of the American people that is the backbone of our national security».

The Honorable Erik Raven, Under Secretary of the U.S. Navy, reflected on attending his first commissioning ceremony. «The Twin Cities represent the Great State of Minnesota’s economic, cultural, and political center. The Twin Cities play a significant role in our nation’s economic network», said Raven. «Now, more than ever, it is fitting that a Littoral Combat Ship is named Minneapolis-Saint Paul – honoring the legacy of work and contribution of the people whose work ultimately impacts our daily lives nationwide and globally».

Vice Admiral Scott Conn, United States Navy (USN), Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Requirements and Capabilities also attended. «Thank you all for preparing LCS-21 for this day», said Conn. «I recognize how special it is to be together for this milestone, and to spend this day bringing the newest ship in our fleet to life in this way. And more so, to do it in the State of her namesake cities is unique and special».

The Governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, also attended the ceremony. «This is a unique opportunity to gather ourselves as Minnesotans, and Americans», said Walz. «We’re not just a country; we’re an ideal».

Guest speakers for the event were Jon Rambeau, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Integrated Warfare Systems and Sensors and senator of Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar.

Attendees of the ceremony were Mayor Jacob Frey, City of Minneapolis; Mayor Melvin Carter, City of Saint Paul; Mayor Emily Larson, City of Duluth; Rear. Admiral Casey Moton, Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants; Mark Vandroff, chief executive officer, Fincantieri Marinette Marine; Captain David Miller, Commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron 2; Captain Andy Gold, Littoral Combat Ship program manager, Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants; Brian Kriese, deputy officer in charge, supervisor of shipbuilding Bath Detachment Marinette; and Matrons of Honor, Nicole Sunberg and Carly Olsen.

Representative Pete Stauber, Minnesota 8th District, assisted in placing the ship into commission. The ship’s sponsor Jodi Greene, former Deputy Under Secretary of the U.S. Navy, gave the first order to «man our ship and bring her to life».

«As a crew, you have already proven your strength and determination in getting ready for this momentous day», said Greene. «You prepared this ship to take her place in the fleet during challenging times. All eyes were on you as you continued to make this pathway».

Built by the Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS-21) was launched and christened in on June 15, 2019. The ship completed acceptance trials, August 21, 2020, and was delivered to U.S. Navy, November 18, 2021.

«I am incredibly proud of this crew for their dedication to shipmate and ship as we worked toward the commissioning of USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul», said Commander Alfonza White, commanding officer of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. «We are honored to carry the name Minneapolis-Saint Paul into the fleet».

USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS-21) is the second naval ship to honor Minnesota’s Twin Cities although each city has been honored twice before.

The first U.S. Navy warship named Minneapolis-Saint Paul was a Los Angeles-class submarine launched in 1983 that participated in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (SSN-708) was the first submarine to carry Tomahawk missiles specifically designed for use in strikes against Iraq during the Gulf War. Having served for over two decades with distinction, the submarine decommissioned in 2007.

LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric «anti-access» threats and is capable of supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence.

USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS-21) will be homeported at Naval Station Mayport, Florida.

 

Ship Design Specifications

Hull Advanced semiplaning steel monohull
Length Overall 389 feet/118.6 m
Beam Overall 57 feet/17.5 m
Draft 13.5 feet/4.1 m
Full Load Displacement Approximately 3,200 metric tons
Top Speed 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
Propulsion Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
Power 85 MW/113,600 horsepower
Hangar Space Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters
One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Core Crew 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
Rolling-Airframe Missile Launching System
57-mm Main Gun
Mine, Torpedo Detection
Decoy Launching System

 

Freedom-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Freedom (LCS-1) 06-02-2005 09-23-2006 11-08-2008 San Diego, California
USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) 07-11-2009 12-07-2010 09-22-2012 San Diego, California
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) 10-27-2011 12-18-2013 11-21-2015 San Diego, California
USS Detroit (LCS-7) 08-11-2012 10-18-2014 10-22-2016 San Diego, California
USS Little Rock (LCS-9) 06-27-2013 07-18-2015 12-16-2017 San Diego, California
USS Sioux City (LCS-11) 02-19-2014 01-30-2016 11-17-2018 Mayport, Florida
USS Wichita (LCS-13) 02-09-2015 09-17-2016 01-12-2019 Mayport, Florida
USS Billings (LCS-15) 11-02-2015 07-01-2017 08-03-2019 Mayport, Florida
USS Indianapolis (LCS-17) 07-18-2016 04-18-2018 10-26-2019 Mayport, Florida
USS St. Louis (LCS-19) 05-17-2017 12-15-2018 08-08-2020 Mayport, Florida
USS Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21) 02-22-2018 06-15-2019 05-21-2022 Mayport, Florida
USS Cooperstown (LCS-23) 08-14-2018 01-19-2020
USS Marinette (LCS-25) 03-27-2019 10-31-2020
USS Nantucket (LCS-27) 10-09-2019 08-07-2021
USS Beloit (LCS-29) 07-22-2020 05-07-2022
USS Cleveland (LCS-31) 06-20-2021

 

Rapid Response Weapon

A U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress successfully released an AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, off the Southern California coast, May 14.

Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW)
Air Force conducts successful hypersonic weapon test

Following separation from the aircraft, the ARRW’s booster ignited and burned for expected duration, achieving hypersonic speeds five times greater than the speed of sound.

«This was a major accomplishment by the ARRW team, for the weapons enterprise, and our Air Force», said Brigadier General Heath Collins, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Weapons. «The team’s tenacity, expertise, and commitment were key in overcoming the past year’s challenges to get us to the recent success. We are ready to build on what we’ve learned and continue moving hypersonics forward».

The 419th Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) and the Global Power Bomber Combined Test Force, or GPB CTF, both at Edwards Air Force Base, California, executed the test.

«The test team made sure we executed this test flawlessly», said Lieutenant Colonel Michael Jungquist, 419th FLTS commander and GPB CTF director. «Our highly-skilled team made history on this first air-launched hypersonic weapon. We’re doing everything we can to get this game-changing weapon to the warfighter as soon as possible».

ARRW is designed to enable the U.S. to hold fixed, high-value, time-sensitive targets at risk in contested environments from stand-off distances. It will also expand precision-strike capabilities by enabling rapid response strikes against heavily defended land targets.

Christened And Launched

The Lockheed Martin-led shipbuilding team launched Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 29, the future USS Beloit. Ship sponsor, Major General Marcia M. Anderson, USA (Ret.) christened Littoral Combat Ship LCS-29, the future USS Beloit, prior to its launch into the Menominee River at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) Shipyard on May 7, 2022.

USS Beloit (LCS-29)
Littoral Combat Ship 29 (USS Beloit) Christened and Launched

«Lockheed Martin is confident that the sailors of Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 29, the future USS Beloit, will play a critical role in supporting maritime security and deterrence. The LCS Freedom-variant, operationally deployed today, is an unmatched and highly adaptable warship, designed to outpace the growing threat of our adversaries and fulfill the dynamic missions of the U.S. Navy. Our team of more than 800 suppliers maintains a strong partnership with the U.S. Navy to add lethality and survivability enhancements to the highly capable and resilient LCS class». – Steve Allen, Lockheed Martin vice president, Small Combatants and Ship Systems.

In 2011, Major General Marcia Anderson was named the first female African American officer to earn her second star in the U.S. Army reserves. When the former Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Richard Spencer, directed that LCS-29 be named after the City of Beloit, he also asked that General Anderson be honored as the ship sponsor.

«I am honored and excited to be a part of the christening and launch of the USS Beloit. As a Beloit native, I am well aware of the long history my city has had as it supported our national security by not just providing people who served, but also helped build the amazing ships and vehicles that have made our military the envy of the world. I know the USS Beloit will carry that tradition forward as she and her crew become an integral part of our nation’s history, and I am happy to be able to play a small role as the Sponsor during the life of this great ship». – Major General Marcia M. Anderson, USA (Ret.), Ship Sponsor of the future USS Beloit (LCS-29).

The Lockheed Martin-led LCS team is comprised of shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 800 suppliers in 42 states. Built at the Midwest’s only naval shipyard, LCS production supports 12,500 U.S. jobs, including more than 7,500 jobs in Wisconsin and Michigan.

«Shipbuilding is hard work, done by dedicated professionals. And I could not be more proud of the work done by our team here in Marinette to get another Freedom-class warship built and in the water where she belongs». – Mark Vandroff, Fincantieri Marinette Marine CEO

Unique among combat ships, LCS is deployed today for close-to-shore missions and is a growing and relevant part of the Navy’s fleet. In the last year, Freedom-variant Littoral Combat ships have supported the Navy on various missions including several counter-illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in narcotics seizures. Its speed, strength and versatility make it a critical tool to help sailors achieve their missions. Recently, the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship for the first time has deployed to US 6th Fleet, as a measure of assurance for NATO allies and partners in Europe and Africa.

LCS-29 is the 15th Freedom-variant LCS and 29th in the LCS class. It is the first ship named in honor of the city of Beloit, Wisconsin. Lockheed Martin is in full-rate production and has delivered 11 ships to the U.S. Navy. There are five ships in various stages of production.

Click here to view additional photos and here for a B-roll package (Password: Beloit) to include ceremony highlights.

 

Background

The christening and launch celebrate a major milestone in the life of the future USS Beloit (LCS-29) and marks a significant event in the history of the nation’s 29th Littoral Combat Ship. LCS-29 is named for Beloit, Wisconsin, and its citizens. It is the first ship to bear the name. Beloit and its citizens have been tremendous supporters of the Navy and Marine Corps for decades. In Beloit, engines for the Freedom-variant LCS are built. These and many other contributions of Beloit citizens have made the U.S. Navy stronger, more capable and lethal.

The Lockheed Martin-led LCS team is comprised of shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 800 suppliers in 42 states. Built at the Midwest’s only naval shipyard, LCS production supports 12,500 U.S. jobs, including more than 7,500 jobs in Wisconsin and Michigan.

 

Ship Design Specifications

Hull Advanced semiplaning steel monohull
Length Overall 389 feet/118.6 m
Beam Overall 57 feet/17.5 m
Draft 13.5 feet/4.1 m
Full Load Displacement Approximately 3,200 metric tons
Top Speed 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
Propulsion Combined diesel and gas turbine with steerable water jet propulsion
Power 85 MW/113,600 horsepower
Hangar Space Two MH-60 Romeo Helicopters
One MH-60 Romeo Helicopter and three Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAVs)
Core Crew 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
Rolling-Airframe Missile Launching System
57-mm Main Gun
Mine, Torpedo Detection
Decoy Launching System

 

Freedom-class

Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Freedom (LCS-1) 06-02-2005 09-23-2006 11-08-2008 San Diego, California
USS Fort Worth (LCS-3) 07-11-2009 12-07-2010 09-22-2012 San Diego, California
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) 10-27-2011 12-18-2013 11-21-2015 San Diego, California
USS Detroit (LCS-7) 08-11-2012 10-18-2014 10-22-2016 San Diego, California
USS Little Rock (LCS-9) 06-27-2013 07-18-2015 12-16-2017 San Diego, California
USS Sioux City (LCS-11) 02-19-2014 01-30-2016 11-17-2018 Mayport, Florida
USS Wichita (LCS-13) 02-09-2015 09-17-2016 01-12-2019 Mayport, Florida
USS Billings (LCS-15) 11-02-2015 07-01-2017 08-03-2019 Mayport, Florida
USS Indianapolis (LCS-17) 07-18-2016 04-18-2018 10-26-2019 Mayport, Florida
USS St. Louis (LCS-19) 05-17-2017 12-15-2018 08-08-2020 Mayport, Florida
USS Minneapolis/St. Paul (LCS-21) 02-22-2018 06-15-2019
USS Cooperstown (LCS-23) 08-14-2018 01-19-2020
USS Marinette (LCS-25) 03-27-2019 10-31-2020
USS Nantucket (LCS-27) 10-09-2019 08-07-2021
USS Beloit (LCS-29) 07-22-2020 05-07-2022
USS Cleveland (LCS-31) 06-20-2021

 

3DELRR

The world’s most advanced and capable transportable or fixed air defense long-range radar, Lockheed Martin’s first AN/TPY-4 radar – recently selected by the U.S. Air Force for the Three Dimensional Expeditionary Long Range Radar (3DELRR) Rapid Prototyping program – has completed production marking availability to the world. The technology that enables TPY-4 provides the capability required for today’s threats and unprecedented flexibility to adjust quickly to those that emerge over time.

AN/TPY-4
Lockheed Martin’s First TPY-4 Radar Completes Production, Bringing Unmatched Tracking Precision and Speed to The U.S. And Its Allies

«Lockheed Martin is committed to investing in advanced defense technology, and the TPY-4 radar is a direct result of those investments», said Rick Herodes, Director of Ground Based Air Surveillance Radars at Lockheed Martin. «TPY-4 meets the needs of a rapidly changing battlefields, marked by technological growth and the emergence of increasingly challenging threats».

 

Milestones & Maturity Development

Lockheed Martin has been on the fast track to provide this radar both in the U.S. and internationally.

In March, the U.S. Air Force selected the TPY-4 radar as the best radar for the 3DELRR program. The 3DELRR contract includes production options for 35 long-range radar systems, planned to reach Initial Operational Capability.

In July 2021, the radar received official nomenclature from the U.S. Government and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA) delivered the Platform Electronics Subsystem (PES) for the first TPY-4 radar. The Lockheed Martin and KDA partnership leverages Lockheed Martin’s state of the art radar technology and KDA’s experience in defense industry solutions, resulting in a next generation sensor that meets and exceeds current long range surveillance requirements.

 

The World’s First Truly Software-Defined Radar

TPY-4 is intentionally designed as a multi-mission system capable of tracking current and emerging threats, and will integrate seamlessly into existing air defense systems. TPY-4 is an internationally available, transportable, multi-mission radar that can operate in contested RF environments. The radar integrates the latest mature commercial technologies to create a revolutionary radar architecture.

The radar system is fully digital at every transmit/receive element with an unprecedented software-defined sensor architecture, allowing the radar to quickly adjust to tomorrow’s threats and missions. It’s individually software-controlled digital transmitters and receivers provide flexibility to quickly change performance for new missions and environments while providing ease of adaptation to future advanced threats. Performance and operational changes can be made rapidly via software enhancements without the design or hardware changes required by older radar architectures.

TPY-4 outperforms other systems in these key areas:

  • Target Detection: TPY-4 detects smaller, harder-to-detect next generation threats in heavy clutter.
  • Mission Diversity: The radar operators can quickly pivot from one mission to another, enabling them to address threats in a contested environment. The radar will operate in extreme climates and environments.
  • Software Defined: The system is digital at every element with operation and performance defined software enabling quick upgrades to combat emerging threats. TPY-4 adheres to open hardware, software, and interface standards to ensure long-term supportability and ease of integration.
  • Transportability: The system is available in both fixed and transportable variants able to be transported via C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III, truck, rail, or helicopter.

 

Radar Coverage

Operation Mode 6 RPM Stop / Stare
Azimuth 360° +/- 45°
Range 300 NM/555 km 540 NM/1000 km
Height 100,000 feet/30.5 km
Search Elevation -6° to 38°
Track Elevation -6° to 90°
Radar Type 3D Element Based Digital Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) with Gallium Nitride (GaN)
Frequency L-Band (1215 to 1400 MHz)

 

Eighth THAAD Battery

Lockheed Martin has received a contract totaling $74 million to produce the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The award amount covers the production of an eighth THAAD battery for the U.S. government. It’s expected to be fielded by 2025.

THAAD
Rendering Shows Lockheed Martin’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System Launcher With Eight Canisters

«This award demonstrates the U.S. government’s continued confidence in the THAAD Weapon System and in its unique endo- and exo-atmospheric defense capability», said Dan Nimblett, Vice President of Upper Tier Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «With 16 of 16 successful flight test intercepts and recent combat success clearly documenting the effectiveness of THAAD, adding an eighth battery will further enhance readiness against existing and evolving ballistic missile threats».

The first THAAD Battery (Alpha Battery, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade) was activated in May 2008 and the seventh THAAD battery was activated by the U.S. Army in December 2016.

THAAD is a highly effective, combat-proven defense against short, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. THAAD is the only U.S. system designed to intercept targets outside and inside the atmosphere. The system uses Hit-to-Kill technology to destroy a threat with direct impact neutralizing lethal payloads before they reach protected assets on the ground. THAAD continues incremental capability improvements within the weapon system to continually improve capability against current and emerging threats.

Record 39-Hour Flight

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works demonstrated the expanded endurance capabilities of a specially configured Lockheed Martin Stalker VXE Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) through a world record endurance flight on February 18, 2022, at the Santa Margarita Ranch in California.

Stalker VXE
Lockheed Martin’s Stalker VXE recently completed a world record 39-hour flight

The flight establishes a new record in the Group 2 (5 to <25-kilogram) category with a flight time of 39 hours, 17 minutes and 7 seconds. The flight has been submitted to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the world sanctioning body for aviation records, through its U.S. affiliate, the National Aeronautic Association, for certification.

A production Stalker VXE was modified for this record-setting flight with an external, wing-mounted fuel tank. The flight provided valuable insight for improvements to Stalker VXE aimed at scaling its mission capabilities for the future.

Stalker VXE’s class-leading endurance, broad operating envelope, modular payload compliance, vertical take-off and landing capability, and open system architecture allow it to execute diverse and demanding missions while maintaining a small operational footprint and crew.

To achieve this world record flight time, Lockheed Martin partnered with:

  • Edge Autonomy as a developer and original equipment manufacturer of high-performance unmanned systems, including the Stalker VXE aircraft.
  • Adaptive Energy to develop cutting-edge fuel cell technology, investing in advanced power sources and testing innovative implementation techniques for field operations.
  • Composite Technology Development Inc. to build a light-weight external wing tank.
  • Precision Integrated Programs to provide flight operations support.
  • Clovis Area Modelers to provide FAI official contest directors to continuously monitor and adjudicate the world record flight for ratification.

Initial Operational Test

Demonstrating its advanced capabilities in the fleet environment, the CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter completed Initial Operational Test & Evaluation test vignettes (IOT&E) paving the way for the expected declaration by the U.S. Marine Corps of Initial Operational Capability (IOC) later this year and a Full Rate Production decision in 2023.

CH-53K King Stallion
U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment prepare to board a CH-53K King Stallion helicopter for an air assault training exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, June 10, 2021 (Photo by Lance Corporal Yuritzy Gomez)

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, built four System Demonstration Test Article CH-53K King Stallion helicopters and delivered them to the Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron One (VMX-1), in Jacksonville, North Carolina, to support the seven-month evaluation, which concluded in March.

«The performance of these intelligent aircraft during Marine-operated flight tests displays the CH‑53K’s operational effectiveness and ensures it will support Marines at the forefront of combat capability and heavy lift for decades to come», said Bill Falk, Sikorsky’s CH-53K King Stallion program director. «The CH‑53K King Stallion delivers greater lift and endurance capabilities over the legacy aircraft. Its fly-by-wire system reduces pilot workload and enhances the ability to refuel in midair, which is critical to expanding the Marine Corps operational flexibility across all U.S. and allied military services, making the CH-53K King Stallion a powerful asset for the Marines evolving missions».

 

CH-53K King Stallion Integrated and Operational Tests Completion

The completion of IOT&E testing follows several CH-53K King Stallion program markers including:

  • Day and night time air-to-air refueling;
  • Air-to-air refueling with 27,000 lb./12,247 kg external load;
  • Sea trials with over 350 landings;
  • Delivery of first six production aircraft.

The CH-53K King Stallion program is on track to achieve Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2022. IOC is achieved when the first squadron receives:

  • Four CH-53K King Stallion helicopters with the required personnel suitably trained and certified;
  • Primary and support equipment and technical publications, including initial spares with interim repair support and initial training curricula, are in place and ready to deploy in accordance with U.S. Marine Corps standards.

 

Building Helicopters for U.S. Marine Corps and Allies

The CH-53K King Stallion established high-tech production line in Stratford, Connecticut, is active with six aircraft in build, including three on schedule for delivery this year. There are 46 aircraft fully on contract including four heavy lift helicopters for the government of Israel. The helicopters for Israel are under a U.S. Navy Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement.

An additional 10 U.S. Marine Corps aircraft are on contract for long lead material. The program of record for the U.S. Marine Corps is 200 aircraft.

The CH-53K King Stallion will further support the U.S. Marine Corps in its mission to conduct expeditionary heavy-lift assault transport of armored vehicles, equipment, and personnel to support distributed operations deep inland from a sea-based center of operations. This capability is critical in the Indo-Pacific region and around the globe.

Mission Augmentation Port

Lockheed Martin has released an open-source, non-proprietary interface standard to support on-orbit docking within the industry.

Mission Augmentation Port (MAP)
A conceptual design demonstrates how a docking port may be incorporated onto a satellite using the Mission Augmentation Port (MAP) interface standard (Image: Lockheed Martin)

With unity of effort in mind, Lockheed Martin has published this Mission Augmentation Port (MAP) interface standard online to support industry approaches to on-orbit servicing and mission augmentation.

The MAP standard provides a mechanical interface design for docking spacecraft to one another. Equipping satellites with docking adapters offer a novel way to add new mission capabilities to a platform after launch. Lockheed Martin’s own Augmentation System Port Interface (ASPIN) is designed to be compliant with the MAP standard. The ASPIN adapter provides electrical and data interface between a host spacecraft and a Satellite Augmentation Vehicle (SAV). With this technology, we’re able to upgrade operational spacecraft at the speed of technology and provide built-in servicing infrastructure for spacecraft on orbit.

The data released by Lockheed Martin can be used by designers to develop their own MAP-compliant docking adapters that will – barring some required discussion between servicers and hosts to coordinate missions – permit interoperability of docking satellites. Specifically, the documents released contain the information required for a compliant physical mate of docking port halves, such as the dimensions of plates and petals. While determined to be application specific, suggestions for electrical interfaces and docking profiles are included.

«Just like USB was designed to standardize computer connections, these documents are designed to standardize how spacecraft connect to each other on orbit», said Paul Pelley, Senior Director of Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin Space. «We believe it’s in the best interest of the nation for the industry to have common interface standards to provide mission agility and enterprise interoperability».

 

Vision for On-Orbit Upgrades

Much in the way we can now update missions on orbit using SmartSat to push software updates or load new apps, Lockheed Martin recognizes the need to reconfigure hardware capabilities to meet evolving mission needs. That’s where standards for docking come in: standardized docking interfaces allow satellite operators to unlock a new type of mission upgrades.

Those upgrades are constrained only by the capabilities of the host satellite and the docking port interface, and could include processors, mass storage, or sensors that add longevity and value to missions. New mission capabilities can also be rapidly prototyped and tested on host spacecraft at a lower cost than traditional methods. Likewise, some satellite components can be replaced or upgraded after launch with new hardware.

Unlike previous space missions where cutting-edge technology begins to lose relevance immediately after launch, future missions will be able to be upgraded via on-orbit hardware and software upgrades. What Lockheed Martin is envisioning goes beyond “filling up the tank” to extend mission life. The company believes its work will add real mission capability in a sustainable, cost-effective way.

«Ultimately, our goal is to drive the development of a new ecosystem where a platform’s function can change at the pace of technology», said Pelley. «This ecosystem will be made up of SAV providers, payload manufacturers, and others who will benefit from the on-orbit augmentation infrastructure».