Tag Archives: Lockheed Martin

Ready For Its Mission

NASA’s Orion spacecraft is ready for its mission to the Moon. Lockheed Martin has completed assembly and testing of the Orion Artemis I spacecraft and has transferred possession to NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) team on January 14, 2021. Assembled at Kennedy Space Center, the EGS team will then perform final preparations on the spacecraft for its mission to the Moon later this year.

Orion
The finished Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission was handed over for launch processing for a mission to the Moon later this year

 

Ready for the Moon

Orion is NASA’s new human-rated exploration-class spaceship that will take astronauts into deep space including the Moon and Mars. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for NASA and built the crew module, crew module adaptor and launch abort system. The European Space Agency provides the European Service Module for Orion.

The Artemis I mission will be the first launch of the Orion spacecraft aboard NASA’s Space Launch System rocket. Over the course of three weeks, the uncrewed Orion capsule will fly out and orbit the Moon and return to Earth. This test mission will validate the spacecraft, rocket and ground systems for future crewed missions.

«Orion is a unique and impressive spacecraft and the team did an outstanding job to get us to this day», said Mike Hawes, Orion vice president and program manager for Lockheed Martin. «The launch and flight of Artemis I will be an impressive sight, but more importantly it will confirm Orion is ready to safely carry humans to the Moon and back home. This tremendous advancement opens the door to a new era of deep space exploration that will ultimately benefit us back here on Earth».

Orion is being transferred from the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy, where it was assembled, to multiple Kennedy facilities where EGS will load propellants and other consumables such as ammonia, helium and nitrogen, and integrate the launch abort system and protective ogive fairing. After this is completed, it will be taken to the Vertical Assembly Facility to be lifted onto the SLS rocket and prepared for roll to the launch pad.

 

Crewed Missions Underway

The launch later this year will be the beginning of many Artemis missions to the Moon. The next mission, Artemis II, will be the first with a crew onboard and will go out to orbit the Moon and return. That Orion crew module and service module adapter are well under assembly at Kennedy and will see its first power-on of its integrated computers this summer.

Artemis III will see the first woman and the next man to walk on the Moon. Orion will carry them out to orbit the Moon where they will ultimately land on the surface using a lunar landing system. That spacecraft is already under construction as major structural elements of the crew module pressure vessel are arriving at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility.

As part of an Orion production and operations contract, NASA ordered three Orion spacecraft from Lockheed Martin for Artemis missions III-V with plans to order three additional Orion spacecraft for Artemis missions VI-VIII and options for up to 12 missions.

For Ship Testing

This year, the U.S. Navy will field the first acquisition program to deploy the High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance, or HELIOS, a laser weapon system with high-energy fiber lasers for permanent fielding by the U.S. Department of Defense. This will be the only deployed laser system integrated into an operational Flight IIA DDG. This follows the Lockheed Martin and Navy’s recent demonstration of full laser power in excess of the 60 kW requirement. The scalable laser design architecture spectrally combines multiple kilowatt fiber lasers to attain high beam quality at various power levels.

Flight IIA DDG
Artist’s rendering of Lockheed Martin’s HELIOS system (Image courtesy Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) and Navy Factory Qualification Test milestones in 2020, demonstrating the value of system engineering rigor and proven Aegis system integration and test processes on the way to delivering operationally effective and suitable laser weapon system that meets the Navy’s mission requirements.

Lockheed Martin Directed Energy solutions provide a proven, affordable, scalable, multi-mission capability and weapon architecture with advanced beam control and innovative fiber lasers that support size, weight and power constraints for air, sea and land platforms. Lockheed Martin is advancing and demonstrating a range of technologies to position laser weapon systems for success on the battlefield and at-sea on a variety of platforms.

Acceptance Trials

Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 23, the future USS Cooperstown, 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.

USS Cooperstown (LCS-23)
Littoral Combat Ship 23 (Cooperstown), the 12th Freedom-variant LCS designed and built by the Lockheed Martin-led industry team completed acceptance trials in Lake Michigan (Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin)

Now that trials are complete, the ship will undergo final outfitting and fine-tuning before delivery to the U.S. Navy next year. USS Cooperstown (LCS-23) is the 12th Freedom-variant LCS designed and built by the Lockheed Martin-led industry team.

«LCS-23, like other Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ships, delivers 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, and they offer 40% reconfigurable hull space to evolve to future U.S. Navy missions. During acceptance trials, LCS-23 proved its maneuverability, automation and core combat capability».

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, and 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 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h.
  • Automated – LCS has the most efficient staffing of any combat ship.

«I would like to commend the entire Freedom Team on the successful acceptance trials of LCS-23», said Jan Allman, CEO of Fincantieri Marinette Marine. «I’m continuously proud of the dedication and perseverance shown by the entire team to provide our customer, the US Navy, with the most agile, capable warship».

 

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
USS Beloit (LCS-29) 07-22-2020
USS Cleveland (LCS-31)

 

Infrared System

December 2, 2020, Lockheed Martin announced the U.S. Space Force has determined the fifth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite (SBIRS GEO-5) is complete and ready for launch in 2021.

SBIRS GEO-5
Lockheed Martin’s SBIRS GEO-5 satellite, the first military space satellite built on a modernized LM 2100 combat bus, built in record speed, is ready for a 2021 launch

Built in a record time and at no additional cost to the government for the upgrade, SBIRS GEO-5 is the first military space satellite built on the company’s modernized, modular LM 2100 combat bus. SBIRS GEO-6, launching in 2022, is also being built on the new bus designed for speed and resilience.

«SBIRS’ role as an ever-present, on-orbit guardian against global ballistic missile threats has never been more critical», said Tom McCormick, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) Systems. «In 2019 alone, SBIRS detected nearly one thousand missile launches, which is about a two-fold increase in two years».

«Completing the production of a complex missile-warning satellite during the challenging COVID environment is a huge accomplishment and is a testament to Lockheed Martin’s professionalism and dedication to the security of our Nation», said Captain Alec Cook, Space and Missile Systems Center’s SBIRS GEO-5/6 Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations lead.

Both SBIRS GEO-5 and GEO-6 are slated to join the U.S. Space Force’s constellation of missile warning satellites, equipped with powerful scanning and staring infrared surveillance sensors, which protect our nation 24-7. These sensors collect data that allow the U.S. military to detect missile launches, support ballistic missile defense, expand technical intelligence gathering and bolster situational awareness on the battlefield.

SBIRS GEO-5 was officially completed on October 29, 2020.

 

LM 2100 Bus: Focuses on Speed and Resiliency

The LM 2100 bus is the result of a Lockheed Martin internally-funded, multi-year modernization initiative. It is designed to provide greater resiliency and cyber-hardening; enhanced spacecraft power, propulsion and electronics; common components and procedures to streamline manufacturing; and a flexible design that reduces the cost to incorporate future, modernized sensor suites.

«We added even further enhanced resiliency features to the LM 2100 to create an initial ‘combat bus’ for the Space Force. SBIRS GEO-5 has proven itself a valuable incremental step towards achieving the resilient missile warning that will be provided by the Next Gen OPIR Block 0 System, the follow-on to SBIRS», added McCormick.

In June 2015, the Air Force agreed to rebaseline SBIRS GEO-5 and GEO-6 to upgrade both satellites to Lockheed Martin’s modernized LM 2100 bus at no additional cost. From that point, SBIRS GEO-5 was completed in approximately five years, in line with the government’s need to increase production speed and address emerging threats, and still supporting the government’s original 2021 launch date.

Besides SBIRS GEO-5 and GEO-6, the LM 2100 space vehicle is the baseline for three Next Gen OPIR Block 0 GEO satellites expecting to launch starting in 2025; and the future GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) satellites, which are expected to launch starting in 2026.

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 Aerospace Systems, Azusa, California, as the payload integrator.

Rescue Group

The 23rd Wing and 347th Rescue Group leadership received the Air Force’s first two HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopters at Moody Air Force Base (AFB), Georgia, November 5.

HH-60W Jolly Green II
Two HH-60W Jolly Green IIs prepare to land at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, November 5, 2020. The 23rd Wing and 347th Rescue Group leadership received the Air Force’s first two HH-60W Jolly Green IIs. The delivery of the new model is significant to the personnel recovery mission as it begins the transition from the predecessor, the HH-60G Pave Hawk model, which has been flown for more than 26 years (U.S. Air Force photo by Andrea Jenkins)

Aircrew from the 41st Rescue Squadron out of Moody AFB and the 413th Flight Test Squadron and 88th Test and Evaluation Squadron, both at Duke Field, Florida, flew the aircraft from Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky Training Academy.

The HH-60W Jolly Green II comes equipped with a wide range of capabilities that will ensure its crews continue carrying out their critical combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations for all U.S. military services and allies in contested and diverse environments. The HH-60W Jolly Green II features advanced and improved defensive systems, vulnerability reduction, hover performance, electrical capacity, avionics, cooling, weapons, cyber-security, environmental and net-centric requirements.

The primary mission of the HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopter will be conducting day or night operations into hostile environments to recover isolated personnel during war. The platform will also be tasked to perform military operations other than war, including civil search and rescue, medical evacuation, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, security cooperation/aviation advisory, NASA space-flight support, and rescue command and control.

The delivery of the new model is significant to the personnel recovery mission as it begins the transition from the predecessor, the HH-60G Pave Hawk model, which has been flown for more than 26 years. The Air Force will continue to utilize the HH-60G Pave Hawk model until the transition is complete.

HH-60W Jolly Green II
An HH-60W Jolly Green II taxis at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, November 5, 2020. The 23rd Wing and 347th Rescue Group leadership received the Air Force’s first two HH-60W Jolly Green IIs. The delivery of the new model is significant to the personnel recovery mission as it begins the transition from the predecessor, the HH-60G Pave Hawk model, which has been flown for more than 26 years. The Air Force will continue to utilize the Pave Hawk until the transition is complete (U.S. Air Force photo by Andrea Jenkins)

GPS III Satellite

The fourth Lockheed Martin-built Global Positioning System III (GPS III) satellite is now headed to orbit under its own propulsion. Following a successful launch earlier this evening, GPS III Space Vehicle 04 (GPS III SV04) separated from its rocket and is now using onboard power to climb to its operational orbit, approximately 12,550 miles above the Earth.

GPS III SV04
The fourth Lockheed Martin-built GPS III space vehicle (GPS III SV04) is now headed to orbit under its own propulsion

About 89 minutes after a 6:24 p.m. EST liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, U.S. Space Force and Lockheed Martin engineers at the company’s Denver Launch & Checkout Operations Center declared GPS III SV04 «separated» from its SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and «flying» under their control.

In the coming days, GPS III SV04’s onboard liquid apogee engine will continue to propel the satellite towards its operational orbit. Once it arrives, the engineers will send the satellite commands to deploy its solar arrays and antennas, and prepare GPS III SV04 for handover to Space Operations Command.

GPS III SV04 is the latest next-generation GPS III satellite Lockheed Martin designed and built to help the U.S. Space Force modernize today’s GPS satellite constellation with new technology and capabilities. GPS III satellites will provide significant capability improvements over previous GPS satellites, including:

  • Three times better accuracy;
  • Up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities; and
  • A new L1C civil signal, which is compatible with international global navigation satellite systems, like Europe’s Galileo, to improve civilian user connectivity.

GPS III SV04 will also be the 23rd Military Code (M-Code) signal-enabled GPS space vehicle on orbit, continuing the Space Force’s plan to fully field the more-secure, harder-to-jam and spoof GPS signal for military forces.

«With GPS III we are focused on rapidly fielding the best capabilities to the Space Force’s Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Mission», said Tonya Ladwig, Lockheed Martin’s Acting Vice President for Navigation Systems. «We are proud of our industry-government team on the launch of GPS III SV04. GPS III SV05 is already ‘available for launch’ and just waiting to be called up».

In early July, the Space Force also declared that the GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) program had fulfilled Milestone C, allowing the program to enter its production phase. GPS IIIF satellites will add even more capabilities, including:

  • A Regional Military Protection Capability, which will increase anti-jam support in theater to ensure U.S. and allied forces cannot be denied access to GPS in hostile environments;
  • An accuracy-enhancing laser retroreflector array;
  • A fully digital navigation payload; and
  • A new search and rescue payload.

«So many people rely on GPS every day. Continuing to invest in GPS by adding new capabilities like those coming with GPS III/IIIF will ensure GPS remains the world’s ‘gold standard’ for PNT and just makes sense», Ladwig added.

GPS is part of the U.S.’s critical national infrastructure, driving an estimated $300 billion in annual economic benefits and responsible for $1.4 trillion since its inception. Globally, more than four billion military, civil and commercial users depend on GPS’ positioning, navigation and timing signals.

Lockheed Martin is proud to be a part of the GPS III team led by the Space Production Corps Medium Earth Orbit Division, at the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base. The GPS Operational Control Segment sustainment is managed by the Enterprise Corps, GPS Sustainment Division at Peterson Air Force Base. The 2nd Space Operations Squadron, at Schriever Air Force Base, manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.

Strike Weapon Platform

The U.S. Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation (SDPE) Office awarded Lockheed Martin a $25 million contract to support the next phase of the service’s Palletized Munitions Experimentation Campaign.

MC-130J Super Hercules
Airlifters like the MC-130J Super Hercules have the potential to deploy large quantities of JASSM-ERs, providing a significant increase in long-range standoff scale (Photo by Lockheed Martin)

The fourth phase includes a system-level demonstration in 2021 and continues to assess the potential to deliver large volumes of air-launched weapons via airlifters.

«Despite the Palletized Munitions program being relatively new, it’s moving very quickly», said Scott Callaway, Lockheed Martin Advanced Strike Systems director. «The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) contracting and Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation (SDPE) offices, and Lockheed Martin teams established this new contract in a record time of 30 days, supporting faster prototyping and a shorter timeline to bring this advanced capability to the warfighter in the field».

Initial studies show that airlifters have the potential to deploy large quantities of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) missiles, providing a significant increase in long-range standoff scale and complementing traditional strike and bomber aircrafts. This innovative approach enables warfighters to launch offensive operations from a greater number of airfields and engage a larger number of near-peer adversarial targets.

The overall goal of the experimentation is to develop a modular system to deliver air-launched weapons, leveraging standard airdrop procedures and operations. The system will have the ability to be rolled on and off multiple types of aircraft, including the C-17 Globemaster III and C-130.

Phase I successfully accomplished five high-altitude airdrops from an MC-130J Super Hercules (manufactured by Lockheed Martin) and a C-17 Globemaster III earlier this year using simulated weapons. During this effort, the U.S. Air Force tested the suitability of launching JASSM-ERs from an airlifter. JASSM is a long-range, conventional, air-to-ground, precision standoff missile for the U.S. and allied forces designed to destroy high-value, well-defended, fixed and relocatable targets.

CH-53K King Stallion

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company will build six additional production CH-53K King Stallion helicopters under a new contract for the U.S. Navy. The aircraft 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.

CH-53K King Stallion
U.S. Navy Awards Sikorsky Contract to Build Six More CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopters

The six helicopters are part of 200 aircraft Program of Record for the U.S. Marine Corps, and their addition makes a total of 24 CH-53K King Stallion production aircraft now under contract. Under the terms of this most recent contract – known as Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 4 – Sikorsky will begin deliveries of the six aircraft in January 2024.

«This contract award is a testament to the government’s confidence in the CH-53K platform. This award shows that we are working hard to make the aircraft more affordable», said Major General Greg Masiello, program executive office, air Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), assault and special mission programs. «The capability and affordability of the CH-53K is important to ensure that we provide a valuable addition to the United States Marine Corps and our friends and allies».

 

King Stallion Production Marches Ahead

The CH-53K King Stallion program has five aircraft on the line at Sikorsky facilities in Connecticut and over two dozen in various stages of production. The program will deliver the first low rate initial production aircraft in September 2021.

Sikorsky and its suppliers have made significant investments in facilities, machinery, tooling, and workforce training to ramp up production required for the CH-53K King Stallion program. For example, for the first time, newly installed 10-ton cranes lifted a 12,000 lbs./5,443 kg gearbox into a CH-53K King Stallion production aircraft.

«The production of this CH-53K helicopter represents a new era in capabilities, technologies, safety and mission flexibility for the U.S. Marine Corps. Sikorsky is committed to supporting the Marine Corps to maximize the benefits of this all new helicopter», said Bill Falk, Sikorsky CH-53K program director.

«Pilots are already training on state-of-the art flight training devices to prepare in a safe, cost-effective manner for operational deployment», Falk said.

 

CH-53K Proving Capabilities

The CH-53K King Stallion is also nearing the conclusion of the developmental flight test events in preparation for Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (IOT&E), having flown more than 2,000 flight hours validating the aircraft’s performance on a ship and in both hot and cold environments. This year, the aircraft completed:

  • Air-to-air refueling with an external load
  • Initial sea trials
  • Flight tests in extremely hot and dusty conditions at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona

 

Other accomplishments include:

  • Maximum weight single-point cargo hook sling load of 36,000 pounds/16,329 kilograms
  • Forward flight speed of over 150 knots/173 mph/278 km/h
  • 60-degree angle-of-bank turns
  • Altitude of 18,500 feet/5,639 m Mean Sea Level (MSL)
  • 12-degree slope landings and takeoffs
  • External load auto-jettison
  • Gunfire testing

 

Operational Fires

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.

OpFires program
Lockheed Martin’s OpFires team is developing a missile with a unique throttleable booster that can defeat targets across the medium-range spectrum

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.

Satellite Mesh Network

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.

Lockheed Martin to build 10 Small Satellite Mesh Network in 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.