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28 Aug 03. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT – News) and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., (GA-ASI) have teamed to jointly pursue the U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) UAV program. BAMS UAV is a $2bn opportunity to provide the U.S. Navy with a persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability.

The BAMS UAV program will expand the U.S. Navy’s capability to conduct broad area maritime surveillance and complement the transition from the Navy’s current P-3 system to the next generation Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA). Lockheed Martin’s integrated avionics mission system expertise, along with unmanned aircraft such as GA-ASI’s Predator B – Extended Range, provides a low-risk solution to meet the Navy’s operational requirements for persistent ISR missions, passing real-time information to a variety of networked littoral and battle group assets within the maritime infrastructure.

“Our two companies bring together complementary capabilities to provide a low-risk and highly reliable systems solution to the U.S. Navy’s maritime surveillance needs,” said Jennifer E. Smith, vice president, Business Development of the Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors Tactical Systems line of business. “The Lockheed Martin/GA-ASI team’s BAMS UAV solution will extend the war fighter’s ability to sense and counter enemy positions over vast areas around the world.”

Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president and chief executive officer of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., stated that, “The U.S. Navy deserves the type of performance provided by the Predator B to dramatically extend the capabilities of their maritime patrol aircraft fleet in order to meet its future network-centric war fighting capabilities. Predator B – Extended Range, based on the combat-proven Predator system, offers the lowest possible risk to the U.S. Navy at a fraction of the cost of competing systems. Working with Lockheed Martin, our team will provide the best possible solution, meeting the Navy’s highest expectations.”

Acting as a node in the operational ISR environment, the BAMS UAV will be the information hub, performing missions such as ISR queuing, strike support, signal intelligence collection and communications relay. The BAMS UAV will also be able to operate independently or directly with battle groups and large deck amphibious ships or with other manned, unmanned and space-based platforms, making it a flexible, versatile and reliable asset for the Navy. An award for the engineering manufacturing demonstration phase award is slated for June 2004.

Lockheed Martin will act as the BAMS prime contractor, and, together with GA-ASI, will develop the complete architectural solution to meet the BAMS program requirements. The arrangement brings together Lockheed Martin’s experience as the premier developer of maritime surveillance capabilities used on 98 percent of the world’s airborne maritime surveillance platforms. Lockheed Martin has been the U.S. Navy prime contractor for continuous P-3 avionics mission system upgrades through its Anti-Surface Warfare Improvement Program (AIP) and Block Modification Upgrade Program (BMUP). GA-ASI will add its expertise at providing the most reliable, cost-effective and combat experienced unmanned aircraft technology to the program based on the highly reliable ALTAIR/Predator B aircraft which includes triplex avionics, redundant flight controls and collision avoidance systems.

On 19 August General Atomics announced the award of an $11.3m contract with the Naval Air Warfare Center for the Component and Technology Development (CTD) phase of an Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) System. GA’s contract is one of two contracts awarded for the CTD phase. At the end of this CTD phase, the Navy will downselect to one contractor for the performance of the system development

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