Lockheed Martin has been using its Center for Innovation to demonstrate and validate its ability to connect different systems such as aircraft and ships operated by the Australian Defence Force to allow them to share data.
As part of its preparatory efforts to bid for the nascent AIR 6500 project for a joint battle management system that has grown out of the RAAF’s Plan Jericho, Lockheed Martin has been using its Center for Innovation facility – dubbed ‘The Lighthouse’ – to model and simulate its ability to integrate no fewer than 14 major military platforms or systems such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Aegis-equipped Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) and datalinks to share information.
Over just a two-week period Lockheed Martin engineers were able to take 14 representative systems “that were never designed to talk to each other, put them in a lab and demonstrate scenarios for AIR 6500,” Steve Froelich, Lockheed Martin’s capture lead for the AIR 6500 program, told Australian media on Monday.
Lockheed Martin used The Lighthouse facility, located in Suffolk, Virginia to demonstrate three scenarios involving the F-35 – a dynamic retasking of an F-35 mid-mission; a coordinated engagement between an F-35 and an Air Warfare Destroyer; and demonstrating how F-35s could share information with commanders on the ground during a combat air patrol mission.
Lockheed Martin is one of four prime contractors, as well as Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, due to submit an AIR 6500 capability solutions study in September.
“The main theme we hear is to be [platform] agnostic,” Froelich said of the AIR 6500 requirement, which envisages a joint battle management system reaching IOC – initial operating capability – in 2022 or 2023. A second phase of AIR 6500 will acquire a ground-based medium range missile defence system.
Lockheed Martin uses its Lighthouse as a cooperative development facility for experimentation, wargaming, and concept and capability development with US military and international customers.