Lockheed Martin Focuses Corporatewide Resources to Modernize and Refresh Military Electronic Systems
BETHESDA, MD, 13-SEP-00 -- Drawing on its extensive experience in aeronautics, space, electronics, systems engineering and integration, Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) today announced a broad new business initiative to address the growing challenge posed by modernizing military electronic systems. Called Proven Path, the effort involves the development of innovative new modular systems, based on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, to replace avionics and electronics on legacy platforms and to equip new platforms. In addition to overcoming parts obsolescence - a growing concern as the nation's military services extend the useful life of aircraft and other platforms - Proven Path employs a plug-in design concept that permits more frequent capability upgrades as newer technologies become available.
Proven Path is directed to the U.S. Defense Department's objectives of enhancing the capabilities of existing platforms while simultaneously reducing total ownership costs, said Vance D. Coffman, Lockheed Martin chairman and chief executive officer. Our initiative focuses Lockheed Martin's broad capabilities on a compelling customer need and positions the Corporation to compete for, and win, significant systems upgrade opportunities.
Lockheed Martin's Aeronautics and Systems Integration business areas are leading the Proven Path effort.
Russ Frew, vice president of advanced technology, noted that Lockheed Martin already is a leading developer of COTS-based mission critical processors, with systems currently in service on a variety of U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, as well as aboard U.S. Navy submarines and surface combatants. Coupled with advanced, object-oriented software architecture, deployed COTS-based systems typically have yielded cost-savings of 50 percent or more over the legacy equipment they replaced, Frew said.
Integrating the extensive skills of multiple Lockheed Martin businesses through the Proven Path initiative will enable us to develop and offer advanced modular systems that will meet demanding requirements such as those posed by multi-role avionics systems, Frew said. Our approach accommodates customers' increasing performance requirements in a way that remains cost effective even as technology life cycles continue to decrease.
Launch of the Proven Path initiative coincides with a study Lockheed Martin has conducted on behalf of the U.S. Air Force Affordable Combat Avionics Office at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to evaluate technologies and business approaches that will best support fleet requirements. The Systems, Technologies, Architectures and Acquisition Reform (STAAR) study will outline a plan for the service's migration from mil-spec electronics that are rapidly becoming obsolete to solutions based largely on commercially available hardware and software.
While the STAAR study addresses specific Air Force platforms such as the F-16, Proven Path provides a more general framework for the evolving needs of air, land, sea and space forces, said Randy Eads, manager of Proven Path integration. Proven Path emphasizes the use of open system standards and commercial technologies that best meet individual customer needs; platform-specific technology refresh plans to accommodate component obsolescence and system enhancement requirements; and coordinated platform roadmaps and supplier product plans to promote commonality and further cost reductions.
Near-term opportunities for application of the Proven Path approach include advanced fighter and transport aircraft program, Eads said.
With more than a dozen Lockheed Martin companies already employing Proven Path concepts on individual programs, this initiative presents an excellent opportunity for all of our businesses to pool their knowledge, experience and resources, Coffman said. This integrated approach will be of immediate benefit to our customers and, over time, to shareholders as well.