Recently, Lockheed Martin demonstrated its Hybrid 5G-Tactical Mesh Network live in a multi-domain environment — a significant step toward ensuring the Department of Defense has seamless access to critical information.
Sundeep, a systems architecht in our Space business and member of the 5G.MIL Advanced Solutions team, was on-site at the demo and has been integral to the work. We caught up with him to learn more about his role, and how his professional journey has evolved since joining our team.
Finding His Way to 5G.MIL
What drew you to Lockheed Martin, and specifically, to working on 5G.MIL?
After working with different teams and experienced professionals in different countries for over 17 years, I got an opportunity to work in the Space division of Lockheed Martin. I was curious about how 5G communications could work from space. The concept of the 5G use case piqued my interest and I wanted to try a new work culture.
For the almost two decades I worked in the commercial telecom industry, we were always focused on the product and solution in front of us. I was always interested in the bigger picture. The question I always wanted to know was, “How is my work today helping a customer or end user?”
When I started at Lockheed Martin Space, I felt like a fresh graduate again. I was encouraged to learn and attend trainings that piqued my interest and which offered value to me and my team. Joining the 5G.MIL Solutions team has been the biggest benefit for my professional growth. I get to work and learn from some the industry’s most experienced engineers, Lockheed Martin’s Senior Fellows.
A Day-in-the-Life of a 5G.MIL Systems Architect
What does a typical day look like for you and the 5G.MIL Advanced Solutions team?
My typical day starts with a Scrum call. Following that, I get to work with team members to help with any technical roadblocks. For me, this is the best part of the day because the engineer in me gets a kick out of every time I get my hands dirty. Some days we have internal meetings with management and other teams to help define and align program goals and our vision for 5G.MIL Unified Network Solutions. The day usually ends with a call with partners to discuss how we can partner to achieve our vision.
Do you follow a standard "9-5" schedule?
I work a flexible (9/80, 4/10) schedule where I put in my 40 hours and get every Friday off – or “Off Fridays.” This makes Fridays my flex day. Some days I go for long runs or bike rides, or take my wife for lunch. Since I recently moved to a new place, some Fridays I just fix things around my new house.
From the Lab to the Field
In this recent demonstration, Lockheed Martin’s 5G.MIL UNS performed as a tactical and commercial multi-node hybrid network for land, air and space domains. Fifteen individual capabilities were demonstrated across mission scenarios, covering interoperability, resilience, security and operations.
Sundeep was on-site to brief an audience of defense and commercial technology partners on the exercise, which provided an opportunity to stress test the maturity and resilience of the independent hybrid network in a mission relevant scenario. The deployed hybrid network included five hybrid base stations with 5G, tactical datalinks and space backhaul.
The field test demonstrated system capabilities, performance and operations for customers in a field setting—and achieving Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6+, meaning it is a fully functional prototype model.
Advice for Engineers Looking to Pursue a New Career
What advice would you give to someone who is considering a similar career path?
Find a mentor! Experience and knowledge are something that cannot be learned just from books. In the same way, mentor someone else to pass on your knowledge. A mentor can teach you about what happened in the past; a mentee teaches you about what is coming in the future.
Why would you recommend working at Lockheed Martin to someone considering a similar career path?
To me, culture is a very important factor for a good place to work. Culture is built by people you work with and the people at Lockheed have been very respectful, encouraging and truly great.