WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has won a $78.6 million contract from the U.S. Navy to create a new generation of computing equipment, voice communications and console displays for the Aegis Modernization and Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense programs.
The company said in a statement last week that the new upgrade contract for the Navy's Aegis Weapon System involved "two BMD 4.0.1 Combat System equipment sets, three Weapon System Modernization Upgrade equipment sets and one Multi-Mission Signal Processor equipment set."
"This production contract represents an orchestrated plan to deliver new capability to the fleet on an aggressive schedule, while maintaining the operational quality that defines Aegis today," said Kevin Kenney, manager of Lockheed Martin's Systems Acquisition Division, Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems 1.0. "This work will field improved ballistic missile defense capability and set the stage for full combat-system modernization on all of the Navy's Aegis destroyers."
Lockheed Martin said the BMD 4.0.1 equipment set would be "a significant upgrade to previously fielded systems."
BMD 4.0.1 had a new Aegis BMD signal processor that would greatly boost the system's detection, tracking and targeting capabilities in engaging ballistic missiles over those of the signal processor currently used on the Navy's BMD-equipped ships, the company said.
"BMD 4.0.1 will be installed on current Aegis BMD ships beginning in 2011, along with the associated computing suite, kill assessment system and operating consoles," Lockheed Martin said.
The Aegis Modernization Upgrade equipment sets contain "new tactical computing equipment, upgraded consoles and displays, a secure voice communication system and associated peripheral equipment," the company said. The system's Multi-Mission Signal Processor integrates anti-aircraft defense and ballistic missile defense functions within a single open-architecture signal processor, it said.
Both the modernization equipment sets and the MMSP will be fitted in the U.S. Navy's fleet of guided missile destroyers starting in 2012, the statement said.
"The modernization equipment sets and the Multi-Mission Signal Processor are all part of the continuing evolution of Aegis that will lead to the merger of Aegis Open Architecture and Aegis BMD in 2012," said Orlando Carvalho, vice president and general manager for Lockheed Martin's Surface/Sea-Based Missile Defense Systems line of business.
"Aegis BMD 4.0.1 provides the next capability leap-ahead with the BMD Signal Processor, while the Multi-Mission Signal Processor is another step in the transition of those capabilities into open architecture, and is a key enabler to make all U.S. Navy guided missile destroyers BMD-capable," Carvalho said.
As part of its program to upgrade all its Aegis-equipped cruisers and destroyers, the Navy intends to adapt the Aegis Weapon System to operate with Commercial-Off-The-Shelf computing hardware and open system software, Lockheed Martin said.
The company described this new weapon system to be fitted under the Navy's Cruiser Modernization Program as fully open-architecture, apart from its in-service signal processor.
"The road to Aegis Open Architecture includes extensive systems engineering to reconfigure these systems with COTS computing hardware and open system software," Lockheed Martin said.
"The end result is a weapon system that will be able to absorb frequent technology refreshes to remain state-of-the-art and can readily accept upgrades in capabilities, whether they are accomplished through new development or through the integration of separately developed third-party products," it said.
The company noted that the U.S. Navy currently has warships operating around the world that carry Aegis systems. In all, they have amassed over 1,000 years of at-sea operational experience, and they have fired over 3,500 missiles in tests and real-world operations.
The Aegis Weapons System is also operated by the navies of Australia, Japan, Norway, South Korea and Spain.