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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lockheed Martin Makes Early Bid for Future Helicopter Mission System

By Andrew Drwiega, International Bureau Chief

In a bid to corner early the new generation mission systems market for military helicopters beyond 2030, Lockheed Martin has announced that it will offer a mission equipment package (MEP) for the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role/Future Vertical Lift (JMR/FVL) rotary wing program.

Related: Future Vertical Lift: An Overview

The company cites its existing experience of working with the Department of Defense (DoD), although it also has similar dealings with international defense agencies in projects that include: modernized target acquisition designation sight/pilot night vision sensor (M-TADS/PNVS), Hellfire, F-35 electro-optical targeting system, target sight system, SH/MH-60, Merlin Mk2 and A-10. It has extensive relationships with Boeing/Sikorsky and Bell Helicopter. The third company openly declared in the competition is AVX Aircraft, which has not actually made any aircraft, but comprises mainly of experienced ex-Bell Helicopter employees.

 

Graphic showing Boeing/Sikorsky bid for Joint Multi-Role, a precursor to Future Vertical Lift. Image courtesy Boeing/Sikorsky

 

Lockheed Martin notes that its MEP will be a "solution for multiple customers due to its open architecture and future airborne capability environment (FACE) software design."

 

Bell's offering for the JMR competition is the V-280 third-generation tiltrotor, shown here on the cover of the May 2013 edition of Rotor & Wing.

 

 

Ed Whalen, Lockheed Martin's Rotary Wing capture lead, stated: “The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Lockheed Martin have invested billions of dollars to create advanced technology mission equipment packages, such as that in the F-35 Lightning II. The JMR program offers the opportunity for the U.S. Army to leverage this investment and many others in its vertical lift program through open architectures and Lockheed Martin’s advanced avionics, sensors and weapons.”

 

 

JMR in attack configuration from AVX Aircraft. Graphic courtesy AVX Aircraft

 

In mid-August, the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) will host an industry meeting to present the results of the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) technology demonstrator Mission Systems Effectiveness Trades and Analysis (MS ETA) Technology Investment Agreements (TIAs) at Fort Eustis, Va. 

Related: Procurement & Acquisition News

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