LOCKHEED MARTIN TEAM SELECTED FOR AERIAL COMMON SENSOR PROGRAM
03 Aug 04. The U.S. Army today awarded a Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT – News) team an $879m defense contract to develop the Aerial Common Sensor (ACS), a next generation airborne intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and target identification system.
ACS will replace current ISR aircraft, including the Army’s Guardrail Common Sensor, the Airborne Reconnaissance Low aircraft and the Navy’s fleet of E-P3 aircraft. Under the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract awarded today, the Lockheed Martin team will combine and enhance the capabilities of the current systems on these platforms into a single ISR mission package on an Embraer ERJ-145 platform. The contract has a potential value of over $7bn over the life of the expected 20-year program.
“We are extremely proud to partner with the U. S. government in the development of ACS,” said Stan Sloane, Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President for the Integrated Systems & Solutions business area. “With ACS warfighters can see and act first with greater speed and accuracy. Our team will deliver a highly sophisticated system that will help enable net-centric operations and provide a tactical overwatch for the future force.”
Specifically, under the SDD phase of the contract the team will deliver five certified, mission ready airborne ISR systems, with initial testing planned for 2006. The balance of the effort would be performed under a follow-on low rate initial production contract anticipated in 2007, followed by a full rate production contract in 2009. Lockheed Martin’s ACS design features an unprecedented sensor-computer integration that will pinpoint threats in real-time. ACS will provide instantaneous access to decision-quality intelligence from manned, unmanned and space-based ISR systems. It will provide U.S. Army and U.S. Navy commanders with persistent surveillance, allowing them to “see” a complete representation of the battlespace.
The team’s ACS solution incorporates a software-centric, open architecture to ensure easy technology insertion, growth and compatibility with future systems including the Army’s Future Combat System and the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS). ACS will bring real-time multi-intelligence sensor and fusion capability to DCGS and will use the new DCGS architecture framework to enable extended joint operations with ISR systems such as JSTARS, U-2, and Global Hawk.
The ACS sensor suite will fly onboard a militarized Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft. This platform is well suited to the demanding, high duty cycle environment for ACS, and as a commercial platform offers a worldwide support infrastructure and low life cycle costs. In addition to Embraer, Lockheed Martin’s team includes Argon Engineering, BAE Systems, General Dynamics, Harris, L-3 Communications and Raytheon. The acquisition authority for ACS is the Army’s PEO, Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors office, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.
“That is going to leverage other deals across the world,” Romualdo Monteiro, vice president for the defense market at Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica (Embraer), the world’s No.4 aircraft manufacturer, told Reuters by phone.
“It’s a historic conquest. We have managed to get into the U.S. defense market for the first time,” he said, adding that the company was negotiating contracts with the air forces of “dozens of countries”.
The deal also sets Embraer on the road toward a target of raising defense sales as part of its overall revenues. “Today about 10 or 11 percent of (Embraer) sales are from defense. The company has an objective to reach the equivalent of 20 percent of total sales in five years,” Monteiro said.
The executive said Embraer had supplied defense equipment to 15 countries. Embraer announced it was setting up a production facility in Jacksonville, Florida, in mid-2003 and sealed the partnership with Lockheed shortly