Advancing Kill Web and PNT Capabilities for 21st Century Warfare

The battlespace of the future requires integrated capabilities. Warfighters need to leverage the integrated capabilities of kill webs, not just kill chains, in contested environments. Space is a crucial element in resilient kill webs, providing warfighters with persistent comms, sensing, and even decision-making at the edge. Lockheed Martin is designing and integrating space-enabled capabilities that enhance 21st-century warfighting lethality, survivability, and efficiency.

Building on our successful use of drones as surrogates for satellites in a 5G experiment at Camp Grayling in July 2021, Lockheed Martin is integrating those drones with onboard sensors and processing, and geo-registration systems to demonstrate targeting in GPS-contested environments.

The scenario utilizes several of Lockheed Martin’s next-generation, disruptive mission capabilities, linking space and ground-based systems to identify, detect and disable threats in a realistic warfighting environment.

The Mission Scenario

The mission scenario begins with the detection and geolocation of an electronic threat using onboard RF sensors coupled with IR sensing for scene-based image registration, rather than relying on a positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) signal. Subsequent space-based sensing, processing, tracking, and communications then enable neutralization of the threat. 

In the scenario, surrogate hardware represents satellites and their payloads. Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) drones and EO/IR sensors work in tandem with a terrestrial proxy payload (CHALS) and software for satellite operations (HiveStar and MFE).

HiveStar controls the autonomous mission distribution and execution of the drone constellation. CHALS detects the communications of the threat, localizes the source, and communicates with the HiveStar software running on the drones. HiveStar will task the correct drone to image the threat and its surrounding location. SEPTRE generates a target-quality 3D coordinate by automatically geo-registering the imagery coming from the HiveStar surrogate satellite constellation to PrecisionTerrain in real-time.  SEPTRE then passes the cue and target coordinates to the simulated weapons system for the missile flight and target attack sequence. While the missile is in flight, it receives updates from the space layer (which is tracking the missile and target) to allow it to effectively reach the target and neutralize the threat.

Tactical Space

Capabilities Close Up

HiveStar™ - HiveStar is our edge system networked stack that enables mesh networking, advanced task prioritization, and distributed app deployment. It is truly multi-platform, so it can be applied to any situation where multiple nodes need to coordinate to collectively solve a task. It transforms those multiple nodes (satellites, air, ground, sea) into a unified platform that provides a framework for Kill Web and Mosaic Warfare Operations. HiveStar provides speed, resiliency, and flexibility for changing mission needs. Its sophisticated auctioneering system enables the distribution of application tasks and processing across a constellation of resources with no human mission capabilities intervention required. HiveStar is on Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) and on-orbit platforms. It validates advanced adaptive mesh communications between satellites, shared processing capabilities, and can take advantage of sensors aboard other smart satellites to customize missions in ways previously difficult to achieve in space.

Mission Fusion Element (MFE) - MFE is a mission processing software capability for correlating, fusing, and tracking ground, surface, and air threats. It is a key enabler, combining data from sensors into a common representation of object behavior, that provides threat location, tracking, and identification in near-real-time. It is a driver for advanced analytics processing that provides critical Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities for multi-domain operations to addresses challenges in tactical asset lethality and survivability. It can be deployed in centralized or disaggregated configurations.

SEPTRE® - The SEPTRE Geospatial Visualization Toolkit is a software application that simultaneously displays multiple real-time sensor feeds in an immersive, high-resolution, 3D environment. SEPTRE provides enhanced visualization, training/simulation and situational awareness in identifying threats. The dynamic service and plug-in architecture allow the software to expand and adapt to mission needs. It also enables global asset management and collaboration through command centers for land and air vehicle operations, connecting the user to the visual edge. This architecture provides an interface for higher level geo-analytics, both geospatial and full-motion video (FMV). The tools allow users to create, edit, query and analyze spatial data with FMV, an essential capability in the geospatial community for training, simulation, data analysis and visual monitoring.

PrecisionTerrain® - PrecisionTerrain is a deployable mapping product that quickly and accurately derives latitude, longitude and elevation to support tactical operations at Category One (CAT1) targeting quality worldwide. This unclassified, unrestricted commercial geospatial solution provides highly accurate precision coordinates via high-resolution 3D maps. Autonomous applications require precise CAT1 geolocation accuracy of 0-6 meters Spherical Error (SE) at 90% probability. With PrecisionTerrain, users receive commercial imagery with a level of 3D accuracy, coverage and accessibility that will revolutionize the defense community.

CHALS - Lockheed Martin’s Communications High Accuracy Airborne Location System (CHALS) is a mature terrestrial system with over 30 years of proven, fielded technology. It features a single payload that can be interchanged with other payloads, offering a wide range of military-grade communications options. CHALS has been demonstrated successfully on Desert Hawk and Stalker small UASs.

Looking Ahead

Through rapid demonstration efforts that leverage combinations of technologies and capabilities, real and surrogate hardware, agile software, and live and simulated action, Lockheed Martin is bringing 21 st-century warfighting to the edge of the battlespace at the speed of warfare. This mission scenario and CONOPs are steppingstones building toward fielding integration of on-orbit capabilities with terrestrial operations. Demonstrations and prototypes to come include direct space to weapons connections, complex constellation autonomy, and space-enable kill webs with converged effects.