SkyKeeper: Next Generation Ground Based Air Defence Integrator and Force Multiplier for the Digital Battlespace

SkyKeeper: Next Generation Ground Based Air Defence Integrator and Force Multiplier for the Digital Battlespace

February 22, 2024

Western Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) capabilities have been neglected for several decades, but it is now evident that this shortfall needs to be addressed immediately. Given the evolving threats we face today, which continue to increase in number, type and complexity, it is imperative that allied nations’ air defence capabilities evolve as well. The Ukraine conflict has been a real catalyst in bringing the urgency of upgrading GBAD capabilities to the forefront for the UK and its allies.

The requirement for tracking, identifying and intercepting threats is no longer assured from fixed site locations or with single task capabilities. There is a critical need for capabilities to be more manoeuvrable and flexible, whilst also providing a development pathway to meet future GBAD and wider Command and Control (C2) requirements across the ever changing digital battlespace; from a full Tactical Operations Centre, down to a highly deployable iPad / tablet based system for more tactical situations at the edge of the battlespace, Lockheed Martin’s SkyKeeper C2 system is built with a modular open system architecture to be fully adaptive, agile and cover all operational scenarios. 

SkyKeeper Form Factors

The system (in various forms) can be integrated into fixed locations, for enduring requirements, or mobile platforms, such as Ajax (or any other vehicle the British Army may procure) to provide situational awareness to operators in a moving vehicle; it can also be housed in highly flexible and transportable palettised cases, to operate from a deployed HQ or in a more dynamic and tactical situation, and can even be utilised as a situational awareness capability for the dismounted soldier on an iPad / tablet.  

  • SkyKeeper Command is a Tactical Operations Centre, with Operator consoles installed in an ISO container, fixed building or location. The multiple workstation configuration provides higher echelon command and control, unlimited power and system capacity, 24/7 enduring operations with assured communication connectivity, and low operator fatigue.


  • SkyKeeper Manoeuvre is fully integrated into military vehicles’ operating systems through the Generic Vehicle Architecture. This form factor brings situational awareness into mobile platforms, and connects it with the digital battlespace network, allowing the vehicle’s sensors to directly contribute to the wider operating picture. SkyKeeper Manoeuvre connects the vehicles’ effectors into the wider system, enhancing any sensor, best shooter principal.
  • SkyKeeper Flex is a ruggedised laptop and server case configuration. Being compact in size enables it to be a fully transportable (using any type of vehicle) and rapidly deployable capability, with the ability to operate from austere locations, semi-prepared buildings, or tented facilities. Due to its compact size, it has a small physical footprint, with minimum operators needed. It can be deployed independently, or as part of a Headquarter capability. Some of the key Users benefits include rapid re-tasking, re-deployment, and improved survivability.
  • SkyKeeper Edge is an iPad / tablet capability providing ‘on-the-go’ data, bringing dismounted soldiers directly into the digital battlespace. It provides situational awareness and tasking down to the edge of the battlespace. SkyKeeper Edge allows non-digital effectors to benefit from the information contained within the common operating picture. 


SkyKeeper: Integrated Layered Approach

The modern force is enabled through a flexible BMC4I framework that facilitates Command and Control capability across the tactical land domain, at all levels providing advantage within the integrated force.

The cross-domain scalability through the echelons of tactical command, within platforms, and down to the soldier, is a key enabler for mobility of operations, and maintaining the tempo of manoeuvre, which in turn creates the conditions to deliver operational advantage and increase survivability.

An integrated layered employment also offers inherent redundancy of C2 where any platform can be rerolled to take on C2 responsibilities.



Lockheed Martin’s evolved SkyKeeper Command and Control capability not only delivers the enhanced User benefits (highlighted above), but it is also fully aligned to the UK’s Land Industrial Strategy, delivering sovereign prosperity, and assured integration with NATO and allied partners, including:  

Sustained military advantage in a competitive age

  • Enable layered and full spectrum defence
  • Deliver a framework to support multi-domain integration, operating at all classifications
  • Reduce training burden

Maintain operational independence

  • Secure sovereignty of the overarching coordination and performance of our GBAD system of systems
  • Maintain overarching governance and UK freedom of action

Strengthen international influence

  • Position the UK as the backbone for NATO interoperability and a leader in the projection of the allied force

Cultivate an innovative, competitive and highly skilled industrial base

  • Build the partnership between the MoD and UK industry to enable the safe and reliable adoption of advanced technologies

Enhance social value

  • Maximise on the investment made by the UK in SkyKeeper’s modern open C2 architecture
  • Ensure growth in expert UK jobs in integrated BMC4I
  • Open exploitation route for UK innovation and IPR


SkyKeeper is a proven open digital architecture and mission system, which adopts Army Mission Systems Integration Strategy and standards, such as Land Open Systems Architectures, and Generic Vehicle Architectures, supporting the wider Defence Data Strategy.

SkyKeeper is already deployed with the British Army. It sits at the core of the Army’s updated LEAPP (Land Environment Air Picture Provision) capability. SkyKeeper is a real game changer in the complex and contested digital battlespace.