Dubai Air Show

Lockheed Martin Expands ISR Offer To Battle Management

 - November 17, 2013, 1:00 AM
Intelligence analysts at work in one of the U.S. Air Force’s Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) locations. Lockheed Martin is leveraging the millions of dollars invested in the DCGS to offer ISR systems for export.

Lockheed Martin (LM) has added a battle management system to its Dragon series of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) products as the company continues to offer this wide-ranging set of platform, sensor and communications solutions for export. Meanwhile, the U.S. company is believed to have won a contract from the UAE to integrate the country’s air and missile defenses.

Dragon Dome is Lockheed Martin’s trademarked name for a tool set that links ISR, air operations and missile defense systems at the battle management level. Randy Peterson, a business development manager for LM Information Systems and Global Solutions (IS&GS), said, “Export customers can take the whole suite but, since it is modular, they can customize different applications to fit their requirements.”

Peterson explained that Dragon Dome uses open, nonproprietary web service interfaces to move vital information seamlessly across domains, with the appropriate level of security. The system creates a visual representation of the battlespace and advises operators on which available air defense asset would best counter an incoming threat. A “faceplate” allows the displays to be configured for different languages and scripts–such as Arabic.

LM would not confirm the UAE as a customer, but says that Dragon Dome “provides any given nation with a native, advanced C2 system that can network quickly and efficiently with coalition forces.”

LM IS&GS has been the key supplier of ISR exploitation and dissemination systems to the Pentagon, notably in the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS). The company’s Dragon series of products “harvests millions of dollars of U.S. Department of Defense investment,” said Peterson. “We don’t have to rewrite all the software, and the service-oriented architecture allows rapid software changes to accommodate new platforms and sensors,” said another IS&GS official.

LM (Stand 1975) does offer its own platforms and sensors (see accompanying box–The Goodyear Heritage), but they do not always form part of the customer solution. For instance, the Sigint sensor system that IS&GS developed for U.S. Air Force C-130s has been adapted to the Airbus Military C295 transports operated by the Finnish Air Force. This palletized, roll-on, roll-off system is labeled Dragon Shield by LM.

In another example, neither the platform nor the sensor came from LM, but the company provided the ground station and the “glue” that enabled a coherent, flexible system. This was the Frontex demonstration for the European Union border agency, in which video from an L-3 Wescam EO/IR sensor on a Diamond DA42 light twin was downlinked, processed and pushed onward to users with iPads via a low-bandwidth link.

“We are placing an emphasis on enterprise solutions–moving information out to users at the combat edge, from those at the centers who enjoy the fiberoptic links,” said John Beck, manager, transformation programs, IS&GS. Intelligence data from such centers is security-qualified by LM’s Trusted Manager product for onward transmission from the center before flowing via FTP or XML Stream to low-bandwidth adapters and on to mobile PCs, tablets or smartphones in the field. “We offer cloud-based solutions: get a password, then get your intelligence via email. It’s a net-based world now,” Peterson added.

Brent Lipson, director of sensor processing LM IS&GS, told AIN that the company’s philosophy is to identify the sensor attributes that solve the problem at hand, whether it be EO/IR, X-band SAR or Sigint. “Customers are looking for context,” he added. “Our emphasis is on the whole cycle–achieving understanding from today’s very rich available data. But you have to understand the requirements–and the sensor phenomenology.” he noted. “A lot of our processing activity today is sensor-agnostic,” Beck added.

LM has developed a Geospatial Large-Area Multi-sensor Processor (GeoLAMP) to exploit radar and EO sensor data from various platforms, including today’s very good commercial satellite providers. GeoLAMP captures, processes and archives the data, and offers a variety of visualization and exploitation tools. Change detection is one of the most powerful tools, for various applications such as environmental policing and border monitoring. “The big growth has been in algorithms–for instance, so that we can identify from radar imagery subtle changes like scars showing tracks that have been made across a field,” Lipson said.

LOCKHEED MARTIN’S DRAGON FAMILY

Dragon Den – ground processing stations from small mobile to large fixed

Dragon Dome – battle management system

Dragon Scout – high-altitude multi-intelligence; large business jet platform

Dragon Sentinel – sensors and processing for tethered aerostats or towers

Dragon Shield – palletized sensors to adapt airlifters for ISR

Dragon Star – single or multi-intelligence system for small to medium-size aircraft

Dragon Stare – radar sensor integration; processing can include Sigint