Lockheed Martin Selects Technical Directions Inc. to Provide Low-Cost Propulsion System for the Loitering Attack Missile
DALLAS, TX, 28-JUN-05 --
Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT], member of the NetFires LLC partnership with the Raytheon Company [NYSE: RTN], has selected Technical Directions Inc. (TDI) of Ortonville, MI, to be the propulsion system supplier for its Non Line-of-Sight – Launch System (NLOS-LS) Loitering Attack Missile (LAM).
The LAM is an integral part of the Army’s Future Combat Systems. The LAM and its LADAR seeker have been successfully demonstrated under the previous DARPA NetFires and U.S. Air Force’s Low-Cost Autonomous Attack System (LOCAAS) programs, and is interoperable with the current force as well as the future force.
“After an exhaustive and rigorous evaluation of all engine options available today, this was the only micro-turbojet engine on the market that demonstrated the ability to meet the NLOS-LS LAM performance requirements,” said Dennis Stalmach, senior propulsion engineer at Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control. “And the cost of this engine is a fraction of the cost of other similar engines, which will result in a much lower cost product for our customer.”
The TDI engine has unique design features that make the engine compact, low-cost and easy to assemble. The engine was designed to use automotive turbocharger parts for the compressor and turbine wheels, with fuel used to lubricate and cool the bearings, eliminating the need for heavy lubricating oil. Altitude chamber and flight testing of the engine system confirmed its full operational capability.
The TDI engines were designed to be assembled in 15 minutes, while the total time allocated for assembly, acceptance testing and packaging for shipment is under two hours, a significant discriminator in the ability to quickly and cost-effectively deliver engines on time and within budget.
“A small, reliable, low-cost turbojet engine was just the solution we needed for LAM,” said Glenn Kuller, director – Netted Fires at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “All of the pieces are falling into place on the LAM program, and we’re eager to get this highly effective weapon into the hands of our Soldiers as soon as possible.”
The NLOS-LS LAM is a ground-launched, canistered tactical missile capable of increasing the warfighter’s area of influence through hunter-killer flight operation, automatic target recognition, and can attack high value targets or report their target locations for attack by other weapons systems.
LAM’s LADAR seeker provides three-dimensional analysis of potential targets. The LAM vehicle is 62 inches long and weighs 117 pounds, and can search a wide area or loiter for 30 minutes at a range of 70 kilometers. Two-way data links on LAM will provide for re-tasking while in-flight and down-linking of images.
“We are looking forward to meeting the challenge to provide propulsion systems for the LAM on time and on target,” said Vern Brooks, president of TDI. “Our engines are designed for maximum performance, easy assembly and low-cost, and will provide the LAM with a reliable, effective propulsion system that will serve our warfighters well in their defining moments.”
TDI also provides propulsion systems to LOCAAS and the Surveilling Miniature Attack Cruise Missile (SMACM). The company’s low-cost engine technology is also directly applicable to other future missile systems.
TDI has developed a manufacturing plan that the company is prepared to implement, allowing initial production of up to 1,500 units per year, and a growth plan to accommodate as many as 7,000 units per year. TDI is in the process of becoming ISO 9001/AS9100 certified, with registration expected in 2005.
Technical Directions Inc. is an award-winning small business focused on the design and manufacture of low-cost small turbojet engines. TDI received the Regional Small Business Subcontractor of the Year Award and the Administrator's Award of Excellence certificate by the U.S. Small Business Administration at SBA's Expo 2005 in April. TDI also was selected as one of the 2004 Outstanding Small Businesses for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. Funding from the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) programs has been instrumental in providing much of the base technology for this new engine system.