Lockheed Martin MULE Program Completes Key Review, Begins Work on Final System Design
DALLAS, TX, 02/27/2008 -- The Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] Multifunction Utility/Logistics and Equipment (MULE) program successfully completed its System Preliminary Design Review (PDR), signaling a new phase in the program's development as part of the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) modernization initiative. As a result of this recent review, Lockheed Martin will now begin to transition from the concept maturation phase into detailed design work.
"The completion of the MULE PDR moves us one step closer to putting this incredible vehicle in the hands of the Soldiers," said Rick Edwards, vice president of Tactical Missiles at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "The entire team demonstrated great tenacity and an incredible systems integration mindset in reaching this key milestone."
The review was conducted by a team from the FCS program office, the Army Training and Doctrine Command and the lead systems integrator partners Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Science Applications International Corporation [NYSE: SAI]. The briefing was jointly presented by Lockheed Martin and a number of partner companies that are contributing equipment, such as radios and sensors, to the MULE.
"The PDR is testament to the strength and maturity of the MULE program," said Gene Holleque, director of Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "In essence, it represents our customer/user community buy-in to the final design of the system. The process also allowed us to focus in on and wrap up any remaining issues that need to be resolved before the design is finalized."
A successful Interim Design Review in autumn 2008 will mark the final break from preliminary design into the formalized drawing releases of the detail design period. The MULE Critical Design Review is scheduled for autumn 2009, after which fabrication of the MULE prototype vehicles will begin.
"Once again we have shown our systems integration capabilities and Lockheed Martin's passion for innovation in support of the Warfighter," Edwards added.
The FCS lead systems integrator selected MULE to move into the $290 million-plus SDD phase in 2003. MULE production will consist of Transport, Armed Robotic Vehicle – Assault Light (ARV-A(L)) and Countermine variants, with final deliveries starting in summer 2011.
The MULE/ARV-Assault Light, a 3.5-ton class vehicle for the FCS program, offers an extraordinary capability that will support the U.S. Army's transformation to a lighter and more mobile fighting force. The robot's unique mobility will enable it to go everywhere the Soldier can go and more. It will allow Soldiers of the transformed Army to use technology to perform a number of dull, dirty and dangerous jobs performed by Soldiers today, freeing troops to focus more effectively on the success of their mission.
The MULE/ARV-Assault Light's highly mobile platform is a unique 6x6 independent articulated suspension. Coupled with in-hub motors powering each wheel, the suspension system provides extreme mobility in complex terrain, far exceeding that of vehicles utilizing more conventional suspension systems.
The ARV-Assault Light version will be armed with a line-of-sight gun and an anti-tank capability. It is designed to provide immediate, heavy firepower to the dismounted Soldier. The Transport MULE configuration is designed to support the Future Force Soldier by providing the volume and payload capacity to carry the equipment and supplies to support two dismounted Infantry Squads. Multiple tie-down points and removable/foldable side railings will support virtually any payload variation. It is suited to support casualty evacuation needs as well. Finally, the Countermine MULE configuration is designed to detect buried mines, clearing a pathway through minefields for FCS Brigades to follow. The Countermine MULE can destroy or mark the mines depending on the tactical situation.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2007 sales of $41.9 billion.