Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have teamed to offer a pod-mounted radar surveillance system that can easily be fitted to transport aircraft or medium-sized helicopters. The Vigilance system is being marketed as a viable alternative to expensive, role-dedicated airborne platforms. It also offers maritime and overland reconnaissance options, thanks to the versatility of modern AESA radar technology.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program faces fresh challenges as the new year begins. First, a long-awaited “should cost” review from the U.S. Defense Acquisition Board might clarify whether Lockheed Martin’s continued optimism on the average procurement unit costs (APUC) is justified. In addition, big cuts to the U.S. defense budget seem unlikely to spare the F-35, which is the Pentagon’s highest profile acquisition, and might undermine the basis for the APUC calculations.
The government of Iraq has requested a second batch of 18 Lockheed Martin F-16IQs to help rebuild its air force as the final U.S. troops withdraw from the country after nearly nine years of occupation. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the possible foreign military sale on December 12, a day that saw President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appear together in Washington, D.C., to mark the imminent end of the Iraq conflict.
Lockheed Martin announced that the troubled, tri-national, medium extended air defense system (MEADS) underwent its first flight test, at the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) on November 17.
Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems has unveiled a self-contained sensor pod that can be fitted easily to helicopters and airlifters to convert them for a variety of airborne surveillance missions. At the core of the package, which Lockheed Martin has named Vigilance, is an adaptation of Northrop Grumman’s fighter-size APG-80/81 AESA radar series.
Lockheed Martin’s Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system successfully undertook a sophisticated “two versus two” trial-firing last month, and the air defense system has just completed a final review regarding the possible sale to the United Arab Emirates, which could be announced imminently.
Ongoing major requirements and a growing defense budget in the Republic of Korea prompted a big showing by major aerospace companies from Europe and Israel, as well as the U.S., at the Seoul Air Show in mid-October. Show organizers claimed that nearly two-thirds of the 313 exhibitors were from 30 foreign countries.
Lockheed Martin and Kaman Helicopters announced that the K-Max unmanned helicopter has been selected for deployment to Afghanistan. The optionally piloted machine was evaluated with the Boeing A-160 Hummingbird for a U.S. Marine Corps requirement.
Lockheed Martin ferried to Morocco the first four of 24 F-16C/D Block 52s being supplied to the Royal Moroccan Air Force from its Fort Worth, Texas, plant under a 2008 foreign military sale. With those deliveries under way, the company said its F-16 backlog stands at 58 aircraft, sustaining production until mid-2013.
The flight of the Lockheed Martin high-altitude long endurance-demonstrator (HALE-D) airship ended after less than three hours last week in a forced landing. Two days later, much of it was destroyed by a ground fire during recovery operations. The HALE-D was the first of three lighter-than-air vehicles due to fly this year with Pentagon funding, as the U.S.