The first in its class

The U.S. Navy christened its Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport, the future USNS Cody (T-EPF-14), during a 10:00 a.m. ceremony Saturday, February 25, in Mobile, Alabama.

USNS Cody (T-EPF-14)
Navy Christened Future USNS Cody (T-EPF-14)

The Honorable Matt Hall, Mayor of Cody, Wyoming, delivered the ceremonial principal address. Additional speakers included Vice Admiral Francis Morley, principal military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition; The Honorable Greg Reed, president pro tempore of the Alabama state senate; Rear Admiral Bruce Gillingham, Surgeon General of the Navy; Rear Admiral Michael Wettlaufer, commander, Military Sealift Command; Mr. Rusty Murdaugh, president, Austal USA; and Mr. Stan Kordana, vice president of Surface Systems, General Dynamics Mission Systems.

In a time-honored Navy tradition, Averil Spencer, the ship’s sponsor, christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow. Spencer is the daughter of the Honorable Richard V. Spencer, 76th Secretary of the U.S. Navy.

«This ship is the first to honor the city of Cody, Wyoming, a city that proudly embodies America’s independence and fighting spirit», said Secretary of the U.S. Navy Carlos Del Toro. «The future USNS Cody (T-EPF-14) will also be the first Flight II configuration in its class, bringing enhanced medical capabilities in addition to its high-speed sealift mobility and agility. I look forward to the depth that this expeditionary fast transport will add to our fleet».

The future USNS Cody (T-EPF-14) will join the fleet as one of nearly 100 U.S. Navy ships operating globally each day ensuring freedom of the seas, protecting international law, and strengthening relationships with Allies and partners.

The Navy’s Military Sealift Command will operate the future USNS Cody (T-EPF-14), the first Flight II configured Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport (EPF). The ship is named in honor of Cody, Wyoming, and is the first ship in naval service named after the city.

EPFs, formerly designated as Joint High Speed Vessels, are all-aluminum catamarans that provide high-speed, shallow-draft transportation capability to support the intra-theater maneuver of personnel, supplies, and equipment for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Army. EPFs enable the rapid projection, agile maneuver, and sustainment of forces in response to a wide range of military and civilian contingencies such as Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO), Humanitarian Assistance, and Disaster Relief (HADR).

The Flight II ships will enhance the medical mission capability of the EPF’s mission portfolio. With an embarked medical unit, the Flight II EPF will have two operating rooms, the ability to support approximately 41 medical patients, and 147 embarked forces. Flight II EPFs will have an 11M Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) and MV-22 capability.

Indonesian Hercules

Lockheed Martin delivered the first of five C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical airlifters to the Indonesian Air Force (IDAF) during a ceremony here on February 21, 2023, commemorating a new era in Hercules operations for this longtime C-130 operator.

C-130J-30 Super Hercules
Lockheed Martin delivered the first of five C-130J-30s to the Indonesian Air Force on February 21, 2023 (Lockheed Martin photo by Thinh D. Nguyen)

The IDAF’s new C-130J-30s offer increased cargo capacity, speed, range, power, performance and lower operating costs over its legacy C-130s to support the IDAF’s wide range of mission requirements for decades to come. These new C-130J-30s expand the IDAF’s ability to partner on missions and training opportunities with allies and regional forces that also operate Super Hercules.

«Indonesian Air Force crews have long trusted the C-130 to support the most challenging of missions facing Indonesia and other nations in the Pacific», said Rod McLean, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions programs at Lockheed Martin. «This new era of Super Hercules operations supports Indonesia in achieving mission success with a highly tailored airlift fleet that ensures IDAF crews can support any task – anywhere, anytime – with more power, strength and capability for decades to come».

Indonesia has operated C-130s since the 1960s, using its Hercules fleet for critical national and regional missions such as delivering humanitarian aid and disaster relief, as well as providing military and peacekeeping support around the Pacific Rim.

The C-130J Super Hercules is the worldwide choice in tactical airlift, serving 26 operators in 22 nations. To date, more than 520 C-130Js have been delivered and the Super Hercules remains unmatched in its ability to support 18 different mission requirements.

Reconfigurable Sensor

Northrop Grumman Corporation has successfully moved its first Electronically-Scanned Multifunction Reconfigurable Integrated Sensor (EMRIS), a new ultra-wideband sensor, into integration and test. Northrop Grumman’s sophisticated multifunction sensors, including EMRIS, enable warfighters to accelerate decision timelines and act collectively.

Electronically-Scanned Multifunction Reconfigurable Integrated Sensor (EMRIS) in a Northrop Grumman testing range

«The sensor’s architecture is easily scaled and reconfigurable, including a variety of mounting configurations, for a wide applicability across platforms and domains», said Krys Moen, vice president, advanced mission capabilities, Northrop Grumman. «By developing EMRIS in an open-architecture construct, we can rapidly add new or improved capabilities to increase performance while avoiding redesign. This supports decades of fielded use and continued access to industry best-in-class capabilities for the warfighter».

EMRIS’s fully digital Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) utilizes technology from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Arrays on Commercial Timescales (ACT) program combined with government open-architecture standards. By applying the flexibility of a digital AESA, EMRIS can perform functions including radar, electronic warfare and communications simultaneously.

Multifunction apertures consolidate multiple functions into a single sensor, decreasing both the number of apertures needed and the size, weight and power requirements for the advanced capabilities. Sophisticated multifunction apertures like EMRIS can deploy several functions simultaneously. As part of EMRIS’s integration and test phase, Northrop Grumman is demonstrating the ability to quickly leverage technology developed for other programs to adapt multiple fielded capabilities into EMRIS.

EMRIS was designed using common building blocks and software containerization allowing for rapid, cost-effective production. The sensor’s design leverages commercial processes and materials, including 5G tech base, driving down cost and increasing the quality and reliability of the components.

Handheld Targeting System

The U.S. Marine Corps awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation the initial production and operations contract for the Next Generation Handheld Targeting System (NGHTS). NGHTS is a compact targeting system that provides advanced precision targeting and is capable of operation in GPS-denied environments.

The U.S. Marine Corps awarded Northrop Grumman a production and operations contract for the Next Generation Handheld Targeting System (NGHTS). NGHTS is a laser-based device that provides the Marines with an enhanced capability to identify and designate targets from extended ranges (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

«NGHTS’ advanced technology will significantly enhance warfighters’ ability to safely complete their missions», said Bob Gough, vice president of navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman. «NGHTS is lightweight and combines four systems into one portable device with state-of-the-art imaging, targeting, ranging, designating and networking. This compact, multi-sensor electro-optical/infrared device lightens Marines’ loads and keeps them connected while adding precision and safety to their missions».

NGHTS performs rapid target acquisition, laser terminal guidance operation and laser spot imaging functions using its advanced range finder and designator. With NGHTS, ground forces have the option to call in a target, transmit the precise location or use laser designation where previously the only option was to call in target coordinates on a field radio. This single, ergonomic handheld product packed with advanced targeting capabilities will enable the Marines to quickly acquire and perform guidance against targets and generate target location data during combat operations.

NGHTS features three sensors: a color day imager, a low-light imager and a thermal imager for creating images in total darkness. It also includes a high-precision GPS receiver and a celestial compass that provides azimuth readings (the angular measurement in a spherical coordinate system) for a target’s heading relative to NGHTS to within fractions of a degree. NGHTS allows for further targeting ranges than current legacy systems.

NGHTS provides superior observation from even the most environmentally and physically onerous locations. During twilight, one of the most challenging times of day to see targets, the streamlined Graphical User Interface (GUI) provides a sharp and clear image. This improved user experience allows the warfighter to conduct accurate target location and laser guidance during combat operations no matter the conditions.

Weighing less than 10 pounds/4.5 kg, the unit is extremely durable, and will be tested under extreme conditions of temperature, vibration, salt-fog and altitude. To create efficiencies and prioritize sustainment, Northrop Grumman designed various parts for NGHTS that can be 3D printed in the field rather sending them elsewhere for repair.

Conventional Prompt Strike

Lockheed Martin is partnering with the U.S. Navy to integrate hypersonic strike capability onto surface ships.

Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS)
Artist rendering of Conventional Prompt Strike

The U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a contract worth more than $2 billion, if all options are exercised, to integrate the Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) weapon system onto ZUMWALT-class guided missile destroyers (DDGs). CPS is a hypersonic boost-glide weapon system that enables long range missile flight at speeds greater than Mach 5, with high survivability against enemy defenses.

«Lockheed Martin continues to advance hypersonic strike capability for the United States through this new contract», said Steve Layne, vice president of Hypersonic Strike Weapon Systems at Lockheed Martin. «Early design work is already underway. Our team looks forward to supporting the warfighter by providing more options to further protect America at sea».

Under this contract, prime contractor Lockheed Martin will provide launcher systems, weapon control, All Up Rounds (AURs), which are the integrated missile components, and platform integration support for this naval platform. The company, along with industry partners including subcontractors Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics Mission Systems, is on track to provide the CPS surface-launched, sea-based hypersonic strike capability to sailors by the mid-2020s. The contract also provides for additional AURs plus canisters for the U.S. Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) testing, training and tactical employment.


A Shared Missile

CPS shares a common AUR with the Army LRHW and can be launched from multiple platforms including surface ships, submarines, and land-based mobile launchers.

Lockheed Martin is the prime systems integrator for the CPS and LRHW weapon systems. The company leads a team of industry, government, and academic partners to make critical progress in design and development to meet this urgent warfighter need in both land and sea domains.


A National Imperative

Hypersonic vehicles or hypersonic missiles can travel faster than five times the speed of sound and are highly maneuverable. The combination of the CPS capability, and the stealth and mobility of the ZUMWALT-class destroyer, will provide the nation’s first sea-based hypersonic strike capability.

Fielding CPS on the ZUMWALT-class destroyer will be a necessary and important step toward equipping the warfighter with a capability that embodies Lockheed Martin’s 21st Century Security vision in support of our customers.

Lockheed Martin is leveraging its corporate history of system integration on naval platforms and our more than 60 years of hypersonic strike experience to accelerate development on an unprecedented timeline.

Fifth Astute class submarine

HMS Anson (S123), the fifth Astute class submarine, which BAE Systems has designed and built for the Royal Navy, has departed the Company’s shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, and headed out to open sea for the first time.

HMS Anson (S123)
BAE Systems delivers fifth and most advanced Astute submarine to the Royal Navy

After being guided through the shipyard’s dock system and rounding the tip of Walney Island, HMS Anson (S123) began her maiden journey to His Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, home of the UK’s Submarine Service. She will undertake sea trials before joining HMS Astute (S119), HMS Ambush (S120), HMS Artful (S121) and HMS Audacious (S122), in operational service with the Royal Navy.

«HMS Anson (S123) will play a vital role in defending the UK, providing a competitive edge for decades to come, and I am proud to see her make her journey up to her permanent home on the Clyde. Supporting tens of thousands of jobs across the UK, our Astute-Class submarines are a leading example of our commitment to defence manufacturing, continuing to boost British industry for decades to come», said Ben Wallace, Secretary of State for Defence.

«It’s with enormous pride that we bid farewell to HMS Anson (S123) as she departs our site to take up her vital role helping to protect the UK’s national security. This is a truly national endeavour, so delivering the most capable attack submarine ever built for the Royal Navy is a tremendous moment for our company, our employees, the Barrow community and the whole of the submarine enterprise, not least our vast and crucially important UK wide supply chain», said Steve Timms, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Submarines.

HMS Anson, which was formally commissioned into the Royal Navy during a ceremony in Barrow last year, is 97 metres/318 feet long and weighs 7,400-tonnes. The Astute class are equipped with world-leading sensors, carry Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes and can circumnavigate the globe submerged, producing their own oxygen and drinking water. BAE Systems has delivered the first four submarines in the Astute class and the sixth and seventh boats are at an advanced stage of construction in Barrow.

The Dreadnought class submarines, which will replace the Royal Navy’s Vanguard class, carrying the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent, are also being designed and built in Barrow-in-Furness with manufacturing work underway on the first three of four boats.

BAE Systems is also undertaking early design and concept work for the Royal Navy’s next generation of submarines which will eventually replace the Astute class, referred to as SSN-Replacement (SSNR).

Sentinel Missile Design

Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully completed a series of wind tunnel tests of the LGM-35A Sentinel InterContinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Using scaled models of the vehicle, stressed under environments from sub to hypersonic speeds, the robust test campaign validated digital modeling and simulations and proved design maturity of the missile.

LGM-35A Sentinel
Live-fire results with scaled missiles correlate with digital models, offering further proof of design maturity

«This wind tunnel campaign is an opportunity to put our digitally engineered designs to the test, under conditions that mimic a missile launch», said Sarah Willoughby, vice president and program manager, Sentinel, Northrop Grumman. «Predictions from the modeling correlated with the testing results, giving us confidence in our model-based engineering approach. Data from these tests will inform future engineering decisions as we mature the design and continue on a path to deliver this critical capability to the Air Force».

Wind tunnel testing is a key early step in any missile development program because it determines how a vehicle will perform during flight. A team of engineers created seven comprehensive test campaigns, each with a unique set of requirements, to measure how the missile would respond to various atmospheric, load and speed conditions. Tests simulated everything from firing the missile, to stage separation and various flight maneuvers. The team is now updating models to enable full scale predictive environments for the development of Sentinel flight hardware.

«Tests were conducted at industry and government-run facilities across the U.S. in under a year», said Willoughby. «This is an extremely complex effort proving the value of digital engineering in helping us move to the next phase with certainty».

The U.S. Air Force’s Sentinel weapon system is a critical modernization of the current land-based leg of the U.S. nuclear triad, replacing the Minuteman III ICBM system that has been in service for more than 50 years. The program represents advancements in technology with the use of digital engineering, advanced tooling, and a modular, open-architecture approach.

Skunk Works UAS

BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin Skunk Works conducted a successful test of the Stalker and Indago small Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) on an Amphibious Combat Vehicle Command, Control, Communication and Computers/Uncrewed Aerial Systems (ACV C4/UAS) variant.

BAE Systems successfully tests Lockheed Martin Skunk Works’ small Unmanned Aerial Systems on ACV C4/UAS

Both UAS will provide unprecedented, long-endurance reconnaissance capabilities to support the U.S. Marine Corps’ expeditionary warfare and battle management capabilities aboard the ACV C4/UAS.

«We’re focused on giving Marines an advanced technology solution to meet their reconnaissance requirements», said Mark Brinkman, program manager for ACV design and development. «That’s why we’re teamed with companies like Lockheed Martin – to provide Marines with the best possible capabilities for their expeditionary needs».

BAE Systems tested Skunk Works’ Stalker and Indago UAS along with a number of other technology suppliers as part of contractor verification testing, a key event in the ACV C4/UAS program’s lifecycle. Now that contractor verification testing is complete, the Marine Corps will conduct its own series of tests to evaluate if the ACV C4/UAS is a capable and cost-effective Government Off The Shelf (GOTS) solution for the Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) program.

Skunk Works’ Stalker and Indago UAS provide industry-leading endurance, a broad operating envelope, and an open systems architecture to allow them to execute diverse and demanding missions while maintaining a small operational footprint and crew requirement.

«Collaboration with our SOCOM and Marine Corps customers and industry partners has enabled the rapid development of needed capabilities for the warfighter – as exemplified through this partnership with BAE Systems», said Jacob Johnson, Skunk Works UAS and Attritable Systems director. «By integrating Stalker and Indago on BAE Systems’ ACV platform, we are delivering greater mission flexibility in a small form factor that supports Marine Corps operations».

BAE Systems’ ACV C4/UAS vehicle is a Mobile Systems Integration Lab (SIL) built to demonstrate the transformational technology Marines need to conduct reconnaissance, surveillance, and acquisition capabilities, including the ability to sense and communicate targets over the horizon using cutting edge C4 systems. Skunk Works’ Stalker and Indago UAS are some of the technology components that the ACV C4/UAS employs to achieve this goal.

Autonomous capabilities

The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of Expeditionary Fast Transport vessel, USNS Apalachicola (EPF-13), February 16.

USNS Apalachicola (EPF-13)
Navy Accepts Delivery of USNS Apalachicola (EPF-13)

EPFs are designed to operate in shallow waterways and are capable of a wide range of activities. These versatile, non-combatant transport ships are used for the high-speed transportation of troops, military vehicles, and equipment. Their missions include:

  • Overseas contingency operations;
  • Humanitarian assistance;
  • Disaster relief;
  • Support of special operations forces;
  • Theater security cooperation activities;
  • Emerging joint sea-basing concepts.

EPFs can transport 600 short tons/544 tonnes as far as 1,200 nautical miles/1,381 miles/2,222 km at an average speed of 35 knots/40 mph/65 km/h. Each vessel includes a flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations. The ships are capable of interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and on/off-loading vehicles such as a fully combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank.

«The delivery of EPF-13 comes after several successful at-sea periods for the vessel, including Unmanned Logistics Prototype Trials to assess autonomous capabilities integrated into the shipboard configuration», said Tim Roberts, Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Manager, Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships. «The Navy and our shipbuilding partner, Austal USA, are proud of the work accomplished and look forward to EPF-13 providing capability and capacity to Military Sealift Command, the fleet, and the U.S. Marine Corps».

Austal USA is under contract to build the future USNS Cody (EPF-14).

As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission, support ships, and special warfare craft.

King Stallion

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, delivered two CH-53K King Stallion helicopters to the U.S. Marine Corps in the final quarter of 2022. These CH-53K heavy lift helicopters join the seven already in operation at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

CH-53K King Stallion
Sikorsky delivered two CH-53K King Stallion Helicopters to the U.S. Marine Corps in December 2022. The heavy lift helicopters will be based at Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina

«Sikorsky’s employees are using advanced technologies to manufacture the CH-53K helicopter, which increases capabilities and survivability to the U.S. Marine Corps», said Bill Falk, director Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion program. «With the CH-53K’s transformative technologies, more is possible for the Marine Corps and our allies when deterring threats in the changing battlefield landscape».

The CH‑53K’s heavy-lift capabilities exceed all other U.S. Department of Defense rotary wing platforms and is the only heavy-lift helicopter that will remain in production through 2032 and beyond.


Production Picks Up in 2023

Sikorsky is on track to deliver more multi-mission CH-53K King Stallion helicopters to the U.S. Marine Corps in 2023.

The U.S Navy declared Full Rate Production (FRP) for the CH-53K King Stallion program in December 2022; a decision that is expected to increase production to more than 20 helicopters annually in the coming years. The expanded production includes twelve (12) aircraft in various stages of production for the government of Israel.

Sikorsky is procuring long-lead items and critical materials to support ramping CH-53K King Stallion production to full rate production in its digital factory.


U.S. Marine on CH-53K King Stallion: «A Level of Safety You Can’t Get Anywhere Else»

The CH-53K King Stallion is an intelligent aircraft developed to 21st century standards, bringing improved safety and survivability to the warfighter. The CH-53K King Stallion helicopter will provide many decades of world-wide heavy lift and multi-mission service to the Marine Corps, the Joint Force and our Allies.

A full authority digital fly-by-wire Flight Control System (FCS) is one of many impressive capabilities setting the CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter apart from any other heavy lift aircraft. «Full authority» means the FCS provides all the aircraft motion – not just supplementing the pilot for stability.

A digital fly-by-wire FCS is an electronic flight control system teamed with a digital computer that replaces mechanical control systems in an aircraft. It makes the aircraft easier to handle in degraded visual environments.

For pilots, like Marine Corps Captain Chris Vanderweerd, the system provides more predictable and stable control responses to improve safety and mission effectiveness.

«We will take up to 30 fully loaded Marines and are able to insert them into a zone in a timely and safe manner where they don’t have to risk going in via convoy», said Vanderweerd, who is with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461. «We can take them airborne and cut the time drastically that they are in enemy engagement zone essentially».

«The whole fly-by-wire system is awesome», said Staff Sergeant Dakota Schneider, crew chief with Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron (MAWTS) 1, who is supporting the CH-53K King Stallion at MCAS New River. «It will bring a level of safety that you can’t get anywhere else».