Lockheed Martin UK Unveils Plans for Advanced Software Development & Integration Laboratories
HAVANT, United Kingdom, 11-MAY-04 -- Plans for a sophisticated suite of digital simulation and software laboratories were today unveiled by Lockheed Martin UK Ltd.
The advanced facilities will be used to develop and test future concepts and technology for military mission systems and networked sensor systems - and will support contracts the company has with the UK MoD.
The labs, known as: 'The Lockheed Martin UK System Development & Integration Facility' or S-DIF for short, will be located at Lockheed Martin UK - Integrated Systems site in Havant, Hampshire and represent an investment in pioneering research & development (R&D) work. The investment is currently planned over five years and will sustain a number of highly skilled jobs on the South Coast of England.
When fully functional, the labs will first be used in the design, development and testing of a new open architecture mission system for the Royal Navy's proven Merlin helicopter, for which Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor and systems integrator. S-DIF will allow Royal Navy aircrew to perform a 'real' mission or a series of missions as if they were in the rear of an aircraft.
Ian Stopps, chief executive of Lockheed Martin UK, said: We view the S-DIF as creating real value through direct investment in the UK over a sustained period. As an organization Lockheed Martin is renowned worldwide as a diversified advanced technology and systems integration company and this strengthens our credentials in the UK marketplace.
Ron Christenson, group managing director of Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems said: Our new activities in Havant develop and enhance our core competencies of systems integration and major project management by making full use of modern technology which ensures we are able to offer our customers the very latest integrated capability. S-DIF's first task will be to take the successful Merlin system into the future: by putting aircrew in the labs we gain their input and this gives them confidence in our development abilities. This early consultation with the operational user is vital - it is rather like having your car built to your precise specifications from day one. The earlier you test, the cheaper it is in the long run and by involving the end-user as early as possible in the system design process we can give them a better product that more effectively meets their demanding requirements. This is an exciting development and Merlin will not be the only beneficiary as the labs can be widely utilized by any part of the company in the UK.
One of the key objectives of S-DIF is to integrate multiple mission systems in an open architecture system, designed so that true 'plug and play' capabilities can be demonstrated. Open architecture systems are the holy grail of designers and customers alike as they enable complex systems such as Merlin to be versatile, adaptable and cheaper to change or upgrade. For example, the consoles and displays will be moveable, able to operate over a fast fibre-optic network and reconfigurable thus guaranteeing maximum flexibility.
Mr Christenson added: Our open architecture approach allows us maximum adaptability and to insert COTS technology for better reliability, reduced weight and lower support costs. We can use S-DIF to assist in any programme in which systems integration and software development is a priority, and due to the complex nature of most MoD equipment programmes, that means most of them.
The labs will also be used to examine how to integrate new equipment within existing architectures in a cost-effective fashion. The systems integration work being carried out will be at the cutting edge of technology and innovations will include linking mission systems with a wide range of new capabilities such as optical sensors, new communication devices and many other state of the art technology enhancements.
Lockheed Martin UK, a unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation, is a leader in systems integration working on major programmes spanning the aerospace, defence, civil and commercial sectors. In the UK, Lockheed Martin has annual sales in the range of £400-600 million working with more than 75 business partners. Lockheed Martin employs approximately 1,000 people at over 10 UK facilities including London, Havant, Southampton, Yeovil, Swindon, Hertford, Bristol, Reading and Cornwall.