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Lockheed Martin to supply $1 billion worth of SCOUT SV turrets

October 21, 2014 by · Comment
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UAE is ready to take thousands of used MRAP vehicles

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Defense Update 2014-08-26 09:03:07

August 26, 2014 by · Comment
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F-35 industry team to invest $170 million to reduce the JSF production cost

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New Scout SV armoured vehicle unveiled at DVD

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Lockheed Martin testing facility paves the way for more radio connections to MUOS COMMUNICATIONS satellites — Press Releasee

SUNNYVALE, Calif., April 30, 2014 – The number of end users connecting to the U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) will grow as radio terminal providers begin using a testing facility that simulates the satellite network. A team from Harris recently used the lab to connect the AN/PRC-117G Falcon III radio to MUOS systems developed by Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]. It’s one of several terminals that are well under way in testing their connections with the constellation.

Many terminals—from hand-held radios to satellite links on ships, planes and ground vehicles—can easily integrate this new type of signal, and Lockheed Martin’s facility helps developers test those connections. While some terminals are new products, the lab also helps existing terminals connect. Enabling access for radios in inventory means more users can use MUOS without the cost of all new gear.

“MUOS provides a leap in capability that can save lives and improve missions, so naturally we want as many users to connect as possible,” said Dave Helseth, Lockheed Martin director of Systems Engineering, Integration and Test for MUOS. “Over 55,000 currently fielded terminals could be upgraded for full MUOS capability as early as 2016. Our simulation lab helps providers quickly complete their integration work and move forward with government certification.”

According to Harris, the Department of Defense uses more than 30,000 AN/PRC-117G terminals. With a MUOS update, all could be ready for MUOS connections pending government certification. Additionally, the General Dynamics AN/PRC-155 manpack radio is the terminal program of record and offers more connections.

MUOS delivers secure, priority-based voice and high-speed data to mobile users using an advanced waveform similar to commercial cell phone technology. The radio testing facility incorporates a full ground station, satellite payload, radio instrumentation and simulators that emulate radio links in challenging conditions, such as rain, forest canopy and urban canyons.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the MUOS prime contractor and system integrator. The Navy’s Program Executive Office for Space Systems and its Communications Satellite Program Office, San Diego, Calif., are responsible for the MUOS program.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 113,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

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US Navy Requests Industry Proposals for Carrier-Operable Drones

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New ‘Samson’ C-130J Super Hercules Aircraft Lands in Israel

April 9, 2014 by · Comment
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User testing begins on Third AEHF satellite as ultra-secure communications payload activated for first time — Press Release

Flawless Journey to Orbit Used Industry’s Most Powerful Electric Propulsion System

SUNNYVALE, Calif., March 26, 2014The third Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite has begun transmitting using its protected communications payload, joining two other satellites undergoing system test in orbit with a suite of user terminals. AEHF satellites are produced by Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] for the U.S. Air Force.

Launched on Sept. 18, 2013, AEHF-3 arrived in its final orbit position and began transmissions in January. The first two satellites have been doing well in limited user testing, and other nations are now using the system. Canada and the Netherlands connected in 2013, and an announcement of a first connection by the United Kingdom is expected this year. Now the third satellite will increase capacity and coverage as the international partners grow their user testing community.

“First transmissions on AEHF-3 were exactly what we expected, and orbit-raising was a textbook example of how to deliver a satellite to geostationary orbit,” said Mark Calassa, vice president of Protected Communication Systems at Lockheed Martin. “The satellite’s journey after launch went precisely as planned. We took advantage of the industry’s highest thrust electric propulsion, which was used during 95 percent of the transfer orbit period.”

AEHF is a hybrid spacecraft that uses both chemical and Hall Current Thruster electric propulsion to arrive at its geostationary position. Lockheed Martin has continually evolved and improved its electric propulsion for 30 years on the company’s A2100 satellite buses. Using electric propulsion helps satellites efficiently and precisely arrive on station and maintain their orbit positions.

AEHF is the most secure communications satellite system used by the U.S government. Its jam-proof communications are resilient against enemy forces, including nuclear attack, and a single satellite provides greater capacity than the entire legacy five-satellite Milstar constellation. AEHF’s five-fold increase in data rates speed up secure, survivable tactical military communications, such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data, and improve links for national leaders and troops alike.

The four-nation AEHF program is led by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., with international partners Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Lockheed Martin is under contract to deliver the Mission Control Segment and six AEHF satellites, which are assembled at the company’s Sunnyvale, Calif., facility.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 115,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

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Lockheed Martin-BUILT WEATHER Satellite ENCAPSULATED For Upcoming Launch — Press Release

DMSP Satellite Will Improve Military, Civil Weather Warning

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., March 20, 2014 – A Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellite built by Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] has been encapsulated into its payload fairing in preparation for an April 3 liftoff. The launch will take place aboard an Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 3 East at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

DMSP satellites collect data that enables military forecasters to find, track and forecast weather systems all over the globe, particularly in remote and hostile areas for deployed troops. Additionally, DMSP supports a broad range of civil users with sensing capabilities not provided by U.S. civil and international weather satellite systems.

“Weather guides some of the most important decisions in the armed forces, from flight patterns to troop movements. Through DMSP, we’re helping to provide safer, successful military missions,” said Sue Stretch, DMSP program director at Lockheed Martin. “Our satellite build and test process went flawlessly. As we approach launch, we are ready to continue serving this mission for the military and civil agencies that depend on it.”

DMSP satellites fulfill the country’s most critical requirements for global atmospheric, oceanic, terrestrial and space environment information. DMSP-19 is the fourth Block 5D-3 version to be launched, and Lockheed Martin has produced more than 40 satellites throughout the program’s 50-year history. Many of the satellites are performing beyond their design life, so refreshing on-orbit capability is important for reliable weather information.

DMSP-19 is equipped with a sophisticated sensor suite that can capture visible and infrared cloud cover; measure precipitation, surface temperature and soil moisture; and collect specialized global meteorological, oceanographic and solar-geophysical information in all weather conditions.

The approaching launch is the first in five years for DMSP. The previous one was October 18, 2009, when DMSP-18 joined the constellation. The DMSP program is led by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., and control is provided by a joint team of the U.S. Air Force and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Suitland, Md. All DMSP satellites were integrated and tested at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems facility in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 115,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

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Northrop Grumman’s Astro Aerospace Delivers Antennas For Next-Generation GPS III Satellites 3 through 6 — Press Release

CARPINTERIA, Calif., March 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Continuing its support for the U.S. Air Force’s Global Positioning System (GPS), Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has delivered 32 self-deploying, monopole JIB antennas for the third, fourth, fifth and sixth GPS III satellites.

The company’s Astro Aerospace strategic business unit delivered the antennas to Lockheed Martin, which leads the industry team developing GPS III satellites in Littleton, Colo. Once installed, eight JIB antennas on each GPS III satellite will deploy to form an RF antenna array.

This is the delivery of the first 32 antennas supporting the third through sixth GPS III space vehicles out of 48 total antennas on order for GPS III space vehicles three through eight. Sixteen more JIB antennas will be delivered in early 2014, according to Dan Johansen, Astro Aerospace Program Manager.

“Astro Aerospace has delivered more than 1,000 JIB assemblies altogether for GPS IIF, GPS IIR and GPS III spacecraft, all with a 100 percent on orbit success rate,” said Johansen. “The antennas we supply are designed to help Lockheed Martin and the Air Force meet affordability and mission assurance goals for the next generation of GPS satellites.”

The GPS III program will affordably replace aging GPS satellites, while improving capability to meet the evolving demands of military, commercial and civilian users. GPS III satellites will deliver three times better accuracy; provide up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities; and include enhancements which extend spacecraft life 25 percent further than the prior GPS block. The GPS III also will carry a new civil signal designed to be interoperable with other international global navigation satellite systems, enhancing civilian user connectivity.

The JIB antenna is a stored energy monopole that deploys typically in 200 milliseconds. The stowed package is one of the smallest available and most compact for a deployable antenna of a given size. The unit is adaptable and comes in diameters from 0.25″ up to 2″ for impedance matching and in lengths from 12 inches to 25 feet.

Astro Aerospace, a pioneer of space deployable structure technologies, has a perfect record of on-orbit deployments since it was founded in 1958. Having delivered hardware for hundreds of spaceflight missions, it operates under the Aerospace Products group that offers a broad set of mature, proven and affordable products and services. For additional information about Astro Aerospace please visit www.northropgrumman.com/AerospaceProducts

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

SOURCE Northrop Grumman Corporation

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US Army, Lockheed Martin Test Collaborative Robotics at Ft Benning

February 20, 2014 by · Comment
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LOCKHEED MARTIN POWERS ON SECOND GPS III SATELLITE IN PRODUCTION — Press Release

DENVER, Jan. 29, 2014 – The Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] team developing the U.S. Air Force’s next generation Global Positioning System (GPS) recently turned on power to the bus and network communications equipment payload of the program’s second satellite designated GPS III Space Vehicle 2 (SV-02).

The successful powering on of GPS III SV-02, on Dec. 19, 2013, at Lockheed Martin’s Denver-area GPS III Processing Facility (GPF), is a major production milestone which demonstrates the satellite’s mechanical integration, validates its interfaces, and leads the way for electrical and integrated hardware-software testing.

“The GPS III SV-02 bus power on is a significant milestone, positioning SV-02 in line with the Air Force’s first GPS III space vehicle, SV-01, in our GPF, where both satellites are progressing through sequential integration and test work stations specifically designed for efficient and affordable satellite production,” explained Mark Stewart, vice president for Lockheed Martin’s Navigation Systems mission area.

On Nov. 11, 2013, the propulsion core module for SV-02 was delivered to the GPF from Lockheed Martin’s Space & Technology Center, in Stennis, Miss., where the core was manufactured. The structural backbone of the satellite, the core contains the integrated propulsion subsystem that allows the GPS III to maneuver on orbit immediately after launch, as well as to conduct repositioning maneuvers throughout its mission life.

The GPS III program will affordably replace aging GPS satellites, while improving capability to meet the evolving demands of military, commercial and civilian users. GPS III satellites will deliver three times better accuracy; provide up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities; and include enhancements which extend spacecraft life 25 percent further than the prior GPS block. The GPS III also will carry a new civil signal designed to be interoperable with other international global navigation satellite systems, enhancing civilian user connectivity.

Lockheed Martin is currently under contract for production of the first six GPS III satellites (SV 01-06), the first four funded under the original contract and the fifth and sixth recent fully funded by an exercised Air Force option on Dec. 13, 2013. Lockheed Martin had previously received advanced procurement funding for long-lead components for the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth satellites (SV 05-08).

The first GPS III satellite (SV-01) was powered on in Feb. 28, 2013. GPS III SV-01’s spacecraft bus and antenna assemblies were delivered to Lockheed Martin’s GPF this summer. SV-01 is now in the integration and test flow leading to delivery “flight-ready” to the Air Force.

The GPS III team is led by the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Lockheed Martin is the GPS III prime contractor with teammates Exelis, General Dynamics, Infinity Systems Engineering, Honeywell, ATK and other subcontractors. Air Force Space Command’s 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 115,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

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Singapore to Equip F-16s with AESA Radar

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U.S. Navy Awards Lockheed Martin $84 Million Contract For Production Of paveway II Enhanced Laser Guided Training Rounds — Press Release

ARCHBALD, Pa., Jan. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) received an $84.5 million contract on Dec. 23 from the U.S. Navy to produce paveway II Enhanced Laser Guided Training Rounds (ELGTR).

Under the four-year indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract, Lockheed Martin will deliver ELGTRs, shipping containers, logistics and product support to the U.S. Navy.

“Lockheed Martin remains committed to providing U.S. Navy aircrews with the most innovative, advanced and cost-effective training solutions,” said Joe Serra, precision guided systems manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “We are nearing completion of multi-carriage ELGTR development, which will further increase training efficiency, proficiency and flexibility.”

This contract extends delivery of ELGTRs to the U.S. Navy through 2018. Lockheed Martin has produced advanced training solutions for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and international customers since Laser Guided Training Round production began in 1992, and has delivered more than 130,000 training rounds to date.

ELGTR emulates cockpit indications, release and terminal characteristics of the paveway II laser guided weapon systems to provide affordable, high-performance aircrew training without depleting paveway II laser guided bomb (LGB) tactical inventory. Recognized worldwide as the only live-fire training solution for warfighters, the ELGTR is compatible with F/A-18, AV-8B, F-16 and various international aircraft.

In addition to paveway II ELGTR, Lockheed Martin’s 350,000-square-foot production facility in Archbald, Pa., designs and manufactures combat-proven paveway II Plus LGB kits. Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 70,000 LGB kits and 7,000 Dual Mode LGB kits to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and international customers.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.

For additional information, visit our website:
http://www.lockheedmartin.com

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How much the F-35 Really Cost?

January 3, 2014 by · Comment
Filed under: Lockheed Martin, Syndicated Industry News 

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Sikorsky, Aurora Flight Sciences to Develop VTOL X-Planes for DARPA

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Sikorsky, Aurora Flight Sciences to Develop VTOL X-Planes for DARPA

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SR-72, a Hypersonic Drone is Positioned to be the Successor of SR-71 ‘BlackBird’

November 1, 2013 by · Comment
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GMLRS Completes Engineering Development Flight Tests with Alternative Warhead Configuration

October 27, 2013 by · Comment
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Lockheed Martin Establishes Continuous Monitoring Lab and Workshops to Support Department of Homeland Security — Press Release

GAITHERSBURG, Md., Oct. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is inviting government organizations interested in learning how to strengthen their network security to its new continuous diagnostics and mitigation (CDM) lab and associated workshops.

Established to support the Department of Homeland Security’s CDM program that is designed to defend government networks from threats, the lab demonstrates commercial cyber security products and Lockheed Martin integration services. The lab, located in Lockheed Martin’s NexGen Cyber Innovation & Technology Center, was created to allow customers to experience CDM offerings and envision how products and services can be implemented to mature their network resiliency.

“Lockheed Martin’s CDM lab makes tangible the many benefits of Lockheed Martin’s cyber defense tools and will increase the speed and efficiency of government cyber security implementation,” said Greg Boison, director of homeland and cyber security for Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions business. “By using the Lockheed Martin Cyber Kill Chain® with an intelligence driven defense approach, our methodology provides unique benefits and assurance to customers proven in defense of our own enterprise systems.”

Lockheed Martin CDM workshops are scheduled for Nov. 14 and 20 and are available to government attendees ranging from chief information security officers to security operations center managers and cyber analysts. During the three-hour workshop sessions, customers will learn how to integrate continuous asset cyber situational awareness, improve decision support, increase speed in remediation of policy issues and vulnerabilities, and realize affordability. Workshops are limited to government attendees. To register, click here.

Under CDM, advanced cyber security tools and services will ensure that unclassified government networks will be constantly scanned for threats, defended from attacks and audited for performance. Federal, state and local agencies as well as tribal and territorial governments can implement CDM. Lockheed Martin was one of 17 contractors awarded a role on the program, which has a potential ceiling value of $6 billion and can be procured under the General Service Administration Federal Systems Integration and Management Center IT Schedule 70. The blanket purchase agreement with Lockheed Martin has a one-year base period with four, one-year options.

As a leading provider of cyber security solutions, Lockheed Martin takes an intelligence driven defense approach to protecting our nation’s most critical assets. The company has invested in continuous monitoring technology and partnerships with members of the Lockheed Martin Cyber Security Alliance. Beginning in 2009, Lockheed Martin leveraged advances within its NexGen Cyber Innovation and Technology Center and the Lockheed Martin Cyber Security Alliance to implement a comprehensive continuous monitoring solution.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.

For additional information, visit our website:

http://www.lockheedmartin.com/cyber

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Lockheed Martin To Build Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) At Award-Winning Facility In Camden, Arkansas — Press Release

Significant Cost Reductions Expected

DALLAS, Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) will move production of its Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) to an assembly line at the company’s award-winning Camden, Ark., manufacturing complex, where the company expects to gain significant production efficiencies and cost reductions.

“Lockheed Martin is implementing a low-risk production plan that will take advantage of the proven, outstanding Camden manufacturing operation and help make our JLTV more affordable for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps,” said Scott Greene, vice president of Ground Vehicles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

JLTV prototypes were produced at BAE Systems’ Sealy, Texas, manufacturing facility for the program’s Technology Development and Engineering and Manufacturing Development phases. Plans to close the Sealy plant were announced today. BAE Systems will remain a key partner on the Lockheed Martin JLTV team, providing integrated cabs, protection solutions and other vehicle manufacturing expertise.

“BAE Systems remains committed to Lockheed Martin and our JLTV program,” said Mark Signorelli, vice president and general manager of Combat Vehicles for BAE Systems. “Recognizing the budget pressures our customers face, the team is reshaping our efforts to provide the most cost competitive offering with exceptional technical capability and product quality to our end users.”

Lockheed Martin’s Camden complex is among the premiere manufacturing sites in the United States. Camden has a strong reputation for on-schedule delivery of high quality products including High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers, Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missiles and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ground vehicles. Over the last decade Camden has won more than 60 awards for quality, safety, security and community service, including:

  • The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, 2012
  • The Shingo Silver Medallion Award for Operation Excellence, 2008, 2009
  • Industry Week magazine’s “Best Plants in North America,” 2005, 2006
  • The National Safety Council’s Perfect Record Award, 2007
  • The National Safety Council’s Occupational Excellence Achievement Award, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010
  • The National Safety Council’s Industry Leader Award, 2007
  • The Arkansas Governor’s Quality Award, 2012

Designed as a more capable and survivable replacement for many of the current Army and Marine Corps HMMWV “Humvee” vehicles, the Lockheed Martin JLTV is systems-engineered to return crucial protection, mobility and transportability to Soldiers and Marines.  Its advantages include greatly improved crew protection and mobility, lower logistical support costs, superior fuel efficiency, exportable power-generation with substantial margin for future growth, and state-of-the-art connectivity with other platforms and systems.

For more than three decades, Lockheed Martin has applied its systems-integration expertise to a wide range of successful ground vehicles for U.S. and allied forces worldwide. The company’s products include the combat-proven MLRS M270-series and HIMARS mobile launchers, Havoc 8×8, Common Vehicle, Light Armored Vehicle-Command and Control, Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme, Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and pioneering unmanned platforms such as the Squad Mission Support System (SMSS).

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is a 2012 recipient of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for performance excellence. The Malcolm Baldrige Award represents the highest honor that can be awarded to American companies for their achievements in leadership, strategic planning, customer relations, measurement, analysis, workforce excellence, operations and results.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.

For additional information, visit our website:
http://www.lockheedmartin.com

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Romanian Defense Ministry Signs Contract for Portuguese F-16 Purchase

October 12, 2013 by · Comment
Filed under: Lockheed Martin, Syndicated Industry News, United States 

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Boeing F-15SE Fails Seoul`s Final Selection of Next Fighter Jet

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U.S. Vehicle Modernization Programs Should Continue Despite Budget Pressures

8408212129_6e55470d16The U.S. military is facing a struggle with its budget over the next 5 year based on current plans. It is winding down its commitment in Afghanistan and facing the effects of debt ceiling limitations and sequestration. At the same time it needs to reset itself after 12 years of commitment in South West Asia and the Middle East. This means force structures will be changed and equipment repaired and rebuilt. There will also need to be investment in certain new programs and capability to continue technical improvement to the forces overall.

Sequestration was implemented for 2013 but had minimal affect on the actual execution of the budge and mission. People were furloughed; some programs didn’t do all their planned development but generally plans were accomplished. The Congress has yet to pass a 2014 budget but the versions that passed the whole House and voted out of Senate Committee assume there will be no sequestration in 2014 and fully fund the President’s request. That assumes some deal being made where either sequestration is cancelled or cuts are made to other parts of the budget.

The recent talk of fighting in Syria by U.S. Navy and Air Forces only has reinforced the view of many in Congress that the defense budget cannot be cut.Vehicle down

There are several core modernization programs in the U.S. that should continue. These include the biggest of them all, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and for the Army, the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).

The GCV will replace the M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the JLTV the ubiquitous HUMVEE. Both programs are following similar paths where they will pay to develop prototypes from vendors to test and then choose one or more for production and entry into service. This was the successful concept used to buy the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP)-ATV used in Afghanistan. That concept was won by Oshkosh (OSK) with their MRAP-AT vehicle.

The JLTV is reaching a point where the 3 teams vying for the contract have sent in their prototypes for testing. These are Lockheed Martin (LMT), AM General and Oshkosh. The GCV is still earlier in the program and is working to reach that stage with 2 competitors, General Dynamics (GD) and BAE Systems (BAE), one are working to meet their solutions. Both programs have substantial budgets supporting these development efforts in FY13 and planned for 2014.

The two programs biggest struggle, like many Americans, is with weight. To meet the protection requirements demanded of fending off mines and IED’s while facing a variety of direct and indirect fire threats lead to all discussed designs being very heavy. Both the JLTV and GCV had programs before them that had to be ended and reevaluated due to the total weight of the proposed solutions. The initial JLTV concepts were weighing 18-20 tons and the GCV over 80, or in the class of Main Battle Tanks (MBT).

The solution discussed for both programs are to use add on armor depending on the level of threat. This means in most situations not all of it would be carried improving weight and performance. In high threat areas more would be bolted on with affects on capabilities. In all situations the maximum armament would still be carried while protection would vary. This does though increase the overall cost of the vehicle and the programs at a time when budget dollars are going to be scrutinized and spread very thin.

In the past when the Pentagon faced a similar budget crunch programs in development would see delays as their annual budgets will be decreased. Production quantities will be reduced and spread over more years shifting cost to the “out year” budget and delaying full entry into service. In extreme cases outright cancellation of the project has occurred.

These two systems are critical to the overall upgrade of the U.S. military ground forces. The HUMVEE and M2 are both originally 30 year designs. They have received constant upgrades especially in the last 10 years due to the changed threat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The HUMVEE, especially, has seen more and more armor added and improved weapon and tactical communication systems added.

Their fates are also tied to the removal of the MRAP from service. The MRAP’s were a quick reaction to a specific threat and public outcry over casualties from the IED and mines. They were never meant to be battlefield vehicles and the armor protection requirements for these programs show why. The U.S. is resetting their MRAP force of several different designs and models and trying to fit them into their standard organization and doctrine. Most likely they will be eliminated from these and used only in extreme depending on the threat.

These programs are expected to continue with the possibility of seeing delays and lengthening of schedules. They are critical to the continuing U.S. armored vehicle capability as there are few other systems coming. The Army has proposed shutting down their M1 production facility for several years due to overcapacity and demand. Congress has fought that and will most likely not allow it but it indicates the budgetary situation. If the JLTV and GCV are cancelled or extremely delayed the U.S. could lose industrial base and capability that would affect future modernization efforts down the road.

Photos of the M2 and HUMVEES courtesy of DVIDSHUB flickr photostream.

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