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Lockheed Martin has joined Intel, Nvidia and eight other major technology companies as part of a plan to securely connect security systems to what Lockheed calls a 21st century concept.

The company, which manufactures defense equipment ranging from F-35 jets to Javelin anti-tank missiles currently in use in war in Ukraineprovides a day in which such weapons can be upgraded online in the same way that Tesla does with its electric vehicles.

“The way to do this is to create an open architecture, an IoT environment, or a set of standards that will allow – whether it’s Lockheed Martin, or Northrop Grumman, or Boeing – to incorporate their products into an IoT 5G-enabled system, so you can link all of these assets together and increase the capacity of one mission every six to twelve months, ”said Lockheed Martin CEO James Tyklet during an April 29 event hosted by The Atlantic Councilamerican think tank.

To ensure that network systems are protected from vulnerabilities such as electronic warfare or cyber intrusion, Lockheed has partnered with US technology companies that include chipmakers Intel and Nvidia.

“You need to take the best concepts out of commercial IoT and 5G networks and bring them to what we’re trying to create here,” Taiclet said. “We have about ten leading partners in the trade industry. They are all American companies. We have publicly announced three or four. “

For 5G Lockheed chose Verizon. The defense giant has chosen Microsoft for cloud computing, while Nvidia will provide support for simulation and AI.

“We also have Intel as a partner, as the chips themselves have to be anti-fraud and hacking and can be customized relatively cheaply,” Taiclet said. “We are really trying to accelerate our pace by partnering with the commercial technology industry, which has already invested billions and billions of dollars in this. They have a huge talent that the defense industry will never be able to reproduce. “

He cites the Patriot missile system as an example. One current problem is that if an enemy fires an advanced low-altitude cruise missile on a battery of Patriot surface-to-air missiles, Patriot radars may fail to detect incoming cruise missiles soon enough to intercept them, according to Taiclet.

Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft (Source: Shutterstock)

“When you can connect this system to the F-35, which flies around with its sensors and its ability to have back-to-network connectivity, the F-35 can see this cruise missile further, creating a targeting solution for the Patriot battery. who will then use the battery to launch a defensive missile and stop the one entering. “

It is about connecting the F-35 with the Patriot missile, both of which are in the American arsenal, he said. It is possible that a German Patriot battery will be connected to an American F-35, he added.

“This would dramatically increase NATO’s deterrent,” Tykle said. What the 21st century concept is designed to do is connect platforms – which are satellites, submarines, ships, tanks, planes, etc. – to link these platforms together in different domains. This is space, air, ocean, subterranean ocean, land, etc.

The integrated defense system is particularly critical in the case of hypersonic missiles, which China was the first in the world to develop. Hypersonic missiles travel on a suborbital trajectory at speeds of 1 to 5 miles per second.

In the case of hypersonic protection, satellite monitoring is necessary in the early stages of hypersonic rocket launch to trace the initial phase of the flight.

“But with the speeds that are happening and the protection capabilities that we have, we need to use these twenty-first century digital technologies to close the cycle, so to speak,” Tylet said. “So we need artificial intelligence to make calculations and predictions about how this missile can fly. We need really high-speed connections – network connections – at 5G level so that we can send enough data from the satellite, for example, to the command and control center and the fire control computer to have the information it needs. to create a tracking solution. And then we need to be able to connect to a high-altitude missile defense terminal battery or a Patriot missile battery, and so on, to hit that thing.

Secure chip deliveries

Taiclet also stressed the need for secure supplies of chips made in the United States

“We need to invest more in US infrastructure to have internal supplies, especially microprocessors,” he said. “Our production lines may be operating today, but we will need more local capabilities in the future … so that we can secure the supply of these microprocessors in the future.”

Since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic more than two years ago, Lockheed has been constrained by a shortage of chips, which has slowed production of the company’s larger systems and affected the overall defense and aerospace industry, according to Taiclet.

“Much of this has been alleviated, but it has not completely disappeared, so we are recovering from essentially Covid supply chain issues even today,” he said.

This shortage is a problem as Lockheed increases production of long-term, more sophisticated systems, with the growing potential for military conflicts in Asia and Eastern Europe, he added.

“We are getting what we would call search signals – whether in the United States or other countries – that more of these systems will be needed. We are increasing capacity in all these areas. “

Javelin missiles

The company plans to nearly double the number of Javelin anti-tank missiles it produces by 4,000 a year, Taiclet said. CBS. The missiles helped Ukraine stop the invasion of Russian tanks.

The United States has send at least 5,000 Javelin missiles to Ukraine as part of a $ 3.4 billion support package provided at the start of the war. Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt told a Hearing of the Senate Committee on May 3 that the United States has provided about a third of its stockpile of Javelin missiles to Ukraine.

It could take several years for the company’s supply chain to “turn around” to meet the company’s production goals, according to Taiclet. Each Javelin contains nearly 250 semiconductors.

Taiclet said it would be “extremely useful” if Congress passed a bipartisan innovation law that would help boost chip production in the domestic market and reduce dependence on Asian suppliers.

The company declined to comment on whether it currently relies on semiconductors from Asian suppliers.

President of the United States Joe Biden toured the Lockheed Martin factory in Alabama with Taiclet last week. Biden credited the anti-tank weapons when he proposed to Congress that it approve a new $ 33 billion aid package for Ukraine and provide more support to the war’s front line.


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