Advancing Technologies that Respond to a Changing Battlespace

Lockheed Martin’s site at Ampthill in Bedfordshire is home to some the company’s most advanced digital manufacturing processes and technical expertise in the UK. Although renowned more notably for its turret design, development and platform integration, the site boasts a wealth of expertise, advanced skills and technical know-how beyond these capabilities, and has contributed towards solving some of the most complex challenges for its customers and industry partners over the past six decades.

The Ampthill site’s diverse portfolio also includes Lockheed Martin’s SkyKeeper product, a Battle Management Command, Control, Computers and Intelligence (BMC4I) capability which has been developed at the facility and continued to go through a series of upgrades over the years, ensuring it remains as the BMC4I solution of choice. SkyKeeper provides the single source of truth in a complex battlespace and it is the Multi Domain Integration enabler, providing digital connectivity for the modern warfighter.  

The company’s manufacturing facility at Ampthill boasts engineering excellence and innovative technologies, it’s modern operations and engineering expertise have led to the creation of the UK’s Turret and Integration Centre of Excellence, where teams of manufacturing and production operations have embedded engineering excellence and sophisticated processes such as Lean Sigma Techniques to create an advanced manufacturing centre, where research and development into future technologies and next-generation capabilities is undertaken.

Tooling fixture being loaded into a machine, ready for production
Digital transformation has played a big part in shaping Ampthill’s operations. Decades of investment in skills, infrastructure and equipment has enabled the site to remain resilient and responsive in a rapidly changing landscape .

“As part of our corporation’s digital transformation roadmap, we have effectively transformed our operations by incorporating advanced technologies and digital processes. We have successfully implemented smart transformations to create a digital manufacturing centre of excellence. Through continuous improvements, we are able to provide the agility, delivery and value our customers need.”

Steve Wallace, Head of Production Operations at Lockheed Martin UK

Lockheed Martin’s UK Turret and Integration Centre of Excellence is where the company is cultivating turrets of the future. Through its proven turret design and development capabilities, Lockheed Martin is at the forefront of developing the next generation of turrets. Tomorrow’s digital battlespace will require even more innovative and technically advanced turret options, which could include un crewed and remote turret solutions.   The company is also working closely with the MOD to help shape the UK’s Land Industrial Strategy.

Richard Muir, Business Development Director at Lockheed Martin UK said, “We have unique turret design and manufacturing expertise and facilities at Ampthill that do not exist anywhere else in the UK. The skills base at Ampthill will be critically important in ensuring that the UK maintains a technological and operational advantage. These skills also underpin the UK’s Land Industrial Strategy and will be essential to future exports that will benefit the wider UK economy.”

Keren Wilkins, Programme Director at Lockheed Martin UK said, “With an advanced manufacturing facility centred around platform integration, turret design and manufacture, along with our existing world leading technologies, we’re at a great advantage in terms of being able to develop next generation solutions for our customers. We’re leveraging our platform integration system design and manufacturing capabilities proven on various programmes, along with our established supply chain to pursue a number of opportunities.”

Digital manufacturing process: Our paperless manufacturing process sends work instructions digitally to the team

Richard added, “The UK MOD’s Mobile Fires Platform programme brings exciting growth opportunities for our Ampthill business. Our decades of strategic expertise in the weapons domain can really help the MOD shape this programme, ensuring the UK gets the best artillery capability available.

“Our advanced manufacturing site at Ampthill boasts digital capabilities and processes that can meet the requirements of developing and manufacturing the solution needed here in the UK. This will bring much needed prosperity and the social value impact will go beyond jobs and economic contribution. There’s a whole piece around export potential that will play a big part in all of this," said Richard.

Lockheed Martin UK doesn’t just look at opportunities to support todays battlespace but keeps a close eye on emerging threats and advances in technology that could help the next generation.  By working with both the global Lockheed companies and trusted UK partners, the organisation is well-positioned to harness and leverage from these existing expertise, by blending existing technologies with new cutting-edge developments.  Not only does this develop this critical, game-changing technology, but it also supports the development and sustainment of high value jobs throughout the supply chain and inspires young engineers to consider careers in the defence sector. 

Another area where Lockheed Martin UK is seeking to support the MODs ambitions is in the field of hypersonics and counter hypersonics, in-line with the outcomes of the Government’s recent Integrated Review which clearly outlines the MOD’s ambition to be at the forefront of emerging hypersonic technologies.

“Lockheed Martin has a long history of innovating and pressing forward the use of novel technologies. We give our engineers and scientists the freedom to explore and innovate so that we can continue to develop and lead game changing technologies and capabilities."

Stu Cutting, Business Development Manager for Special Projects at Ampthill

Stu Cutting, Business Development Manager for Special Projects at Ampthill said, “Lockheed Martin is committed to supporting the development of its employees. Our people remain at the cusp of scientific and technological discoveries - exploring topics such as space flight, hypersonics/counter hypersonics, and directed energy. A number of our employees have also had the opportunity to present their work internationally through the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), which is a great accolade and a credit to the work and research they’re undertaking.”

Lockheed Martin UK has recently set up an Operational Analysis hub (OA Hub) to support both the business and its customers in unpicking some of the most challenging questions in defence through intellectual rigour and thought, combined with hard engineering knowledge and systems expertise.  

Learn more about how the company is advancing future capabilities and leading technology breakthroughs.