Lockheed Martin Proposes Flexible Approach for Watchkeeper Project
LONDON, UK, May 14th, 2002 -- Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems today announced that it has submitted its Project Watchkeeper bid to the UK Defence Procurement Agency. Project Watchkeeper will use unmanned air vehicles, equipped with powerful, all weather sensors, to gather real-time imagery from behind enemy lines, and relay it to ground stations where critical intelligence will be extracted and disseminated. Already used successfully by the US in Afghanistan, these systems are set to transform warfare by providing critical information to commanders on the ground, without putting aircrew in harm's way.
The bid is for the Systems Integration and Assurance Phase (SIAP) of the programme, which provides detailed system design definition and conducts risk reduction work in preparation for the development and manufacture phase. Lockheed Martin is one of four companies selected to compete for the contract and a down-selection decision is expected in September of this year.
Lockheed Martin has adopted an approach that focuses on the architecture and operation of the system within an increasingly digitised battlespace. To enable the most capable and flexible system to be provided at the most affordable price, Lockheed Martin has scoured the world to find the best technology available. By then applying its considerable systems integration skills, these components will be brought together to create a system that is more capable than the sum of its parts.
Ron Christenson, Group Managing Director of Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems said: "The technologies to do this are here today, the problem is gluing them together in a fashion that meets the MOD's requirements and, perhaps more challenging, adapts as these requirements change and new technologies mature."
Usability has also been a big driver and Lockheed Martin has included a number of innovative approaches aimed specifically at creating a system that allows Watchkeeper to mould itself to the users needs. The system can adapt to those needs as the deeper capabilities of Lockheed Martin's Watchkeeper solution are further explored.
With this in mind, the involvement of Lockheed Martin's world renowned 'Skunk Works' ensures that their approach, whilst meeting today's requirement, has a close eye on the future.
Ron Christenson added: "Watchkeeper can go where our armed forces go and beyond, and be at the local commander's beck and call delivering information to their fingertips when they need it. And situational awareness is as important to troops in the field as having a radio or a sidearm - in fact, it's probably more important, because it allows commanders to remain inside the enemy's decision cycle and dictate the place, the time and the conditions under which to engage the enemy. Being able to do that consistently will be vital to future operations - including the war against terrorism."
Lockheed Martin's bid combines its unrivalled knowledge of the Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) sector and its systems integration expertise. Lockheed Martin is the company that, in many ways, created the ISTAR concept as we know it today with the U2 and other classified projects. It is also acknowledged as the leader in complex systems integration projects and has a demonstrable record of prime contracting success from UK programmes such as the Royal Navy's Tomahawk Integration project - delivered three months early - and the Merlin Mk1 helicopter.
As the only team not reliant on in-house equipment, Lockheed Martin is able to act as impartial prime contractor and go out to the marketplace to find the most affordable equipment best suited to MOD requirements. At the same time, through in-house resources, the Corporation can take advantage of some of the most advanced technology being developed in this area. A great example of this is Lockheed Martin's UK Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) - the world's most sophisticated simulator - which will be an asset to the programme, as Watchkeeper training can be conducted in this facility. High-level training will integrate seamlessly into an overall battlefield scenario and allow commanders to maximize the benefit of this valuable asset in cyberspace.
Ron Christenson said: "We view Watchkeeper as fitting into our wider business strategy of concentrating on key C4ISTAR programmes such as Soothsayer and UK CEC and our ability to horizontally integrate the digital battlespace across these programmes will give enhanced interoperability for the MOD."
Andy Head, Marketing Director for Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems said: "Our bid brings together the full strength of US advanced technology with respected UK and international partners, and integrates these into an affordable package which will have great scope for enhancement in the future.
"All the equipment, but especially that for the ground station - the true brains of the system - will be built in the UK, enhancing a significant, highly skilled workbase."
Jeremy Greaves, on: (mob) +44(0)7887 506338email: email@example.com