Driving open standards to stay ahead of the threat

At Lockheed Martin, we’re paving the way when it comes to developing and adopting open architectures and data standards, as evidenced by our leadership on numerous consortia dedicated to these topics. We believe the alternative — vertically integrated “walled gardens” — are harmful to national security as we seek to integrate best-of-breed technologies across the space enterprise. 

“No team should create its own tech stack in the future. It should be available enterprise-wide, based on an enterprise reference architecture, with all tools necessary for program success,” wrote Will Roper, former assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, in a recent treatise on digital acquisition.

We agree.

We recognize the value of open system architectures and standards because they help produce products that are modular, portable, extensible and interoperable.  This is evidenced by the following scenarios:

  • We’ve played pivotal roles in developing and pioneering standards like Open Mission Systems (OMS), Unmanned Command and Control (C2) Interface (UCI) and the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium.  
  • We developed and deployed the SmartSat™ platform software framework, which is aligned with the FACE technical standard to provide open standard APIs for hosted software application development.
  • We recently joined the Defense Department’s enterprise-wide cloud initiative, Platform One. We’re not only contributing to the Platform One common container repository so any mission can take advantage of tools we develop, but we’re also able to use it within our organization to accelerate our own development. It’s a symbiotic relationship with industry and government.

Open standards at work with OPIR missile warning

We developed the first open framework capability for the OPIR real-time mission. Our Highly Efficient Mission Integrator (HEMI) established standard interfaces at the key points in the processing chain in what was previously a proprietary end-to-end software architecture.

Why? So, we could enable rapid insertion of new capabilities.

This led to the establishment of the TAP Lab in Boulder, which provides software prototyping and algorithmic development using OPIR data.

HEMI and the TAP Lab demonstrate how a Modular, Open-Systems Architecture (MOSA) approach can support real time, low latency missions critical to the Space Force. HEMI also demonstrates how opening an architecture can open the marketplace for supplier diversity, which lets the customer select the best solutions.

Today, the current Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) constellation, the new SBIRS 5/6 satellites based on the upgraded LM 2100™ bus, and the first three Next Gen OPIR GEO space vehicles are all contributing to the Space Force’s next ground system. The Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution (FORGE) Mission Data Processing (MDP) and Enterprise Ground Services (EGS) are both built around open architecture and standards, and we are already developing key components to both systems.

  • HOME will enable the legacy SBIRS HEO satellites to be controlled by EGS.
  • The GNOME prototype will demonstrate that SBIRS GEO-5 can successfully transition to EGS.
  • The Next Generation Interim Operations-FORGE (NIO-F) is an interim ground processing system hosted on an initial release of SMC’s FORGE architecture. It will be used to command the first three next gen vehicles and provide FORGE-standard sensor and mission data to warfighters and mission partners while the objective FORGE MDP and EGS continues to be developed. NIO-F pathfinds many open-architecture concepts that will be needed on FORGE MDP and EGS.
  •  Finally, our work on the SBIRS Operation Agile Response, or SOAR contract, lets us quickly make changes to the existing SBIRS system as requested by the Space Force.

On the space vehicle side, Next Generation OPIR is applying proven MOSA standards to a fast-moving program.  To avoid things like “vendor lock,” we standardized mission payload interfaces. Each of these new satellites will also fly SmartSat™ — our answer to enabling open architecture, resilient cyber security, and cloud computing in-orbit. SmartSat™ opens the door for easier mission updates, real-time cyber protection and commercial cloud containers to expand access to more developers.

Our commitment to the mission and interoperability runs deep

We take our work very seriously. Our national and allied security depends on it. We are at a pivotal juncture in technology, culture and defense. As new threats emerge, our ability to defeat them hinges on how fast we can respond and outpace them. Interoperability holds the key to shortening the kill web or so-called sensor-to-shooter timeline.

Recently, we began working on the Space Development Agency’s Transport Layer Tranche 0. It’s the first step toward building an interoperable, connected secure mesh network that will enable Joint All-Domain Operations. We are building, integrating and launching a series of LEO small satellites linked together via advanced mesh networking which will provide secure high-bandwidth, low-latency data links for a wide range of warfighters.

Our work on SDA Transport will enable interoperability in space with connections to commercial satcom and other military protected satcom systems like Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) and Multi-User Object System (MUOS), and eventually Evolved Strategic Satcom (ESS) and Protected Tactical Satcom (PTS).

Working together to bring change

We believe that the only way we can solve our nation’s toughest challenges is to work together. If we don't trust each other and our intentions, we will never succeed against our adversaries. We won't counter our adversary's threats without trust and shared commitment to this critical national security mission.

Let’s continue working together to bring change.