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Lockheed Martin Receives $14.75 Million Award to Integrate Ku Band Messaging Interface with the MH-60R Helicopter


OWEGO, NY, Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] has received a $14.75 million U.S. Navy contract to integrate a digital messaging interface that will improve the flow of data the MH-60R anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopter can send to U.S. Navy ships across the new Ku band tactical data link.

As the ‘eyes and ears’ of the U.S. Navy fleet, the MH-60R helicopter collects and processes voice, video, radar and acoustic sensor data to alert the host ship of undersea and surface movements. MH-60R and legacy SH-60B aircraft currently send data across the C-band microwave frequency range. With the introduction of Ku band, the air-to-ship downlink will expand significantly, enabling the MH-60R to stream large quantities of information-rich data to the strike group commander.

The high definition Ship Air Upgrade interface Lockheed Martin is integrating — designated SAU 07000 — will allow a ship or strike group to request specific data from the helicopter, simultaneously receive streaming imagery and other messages, and capture ever greater levels of detail about multiple targets observed by the helicopter.

“The SAU 07000 interface establishes point-to-point Internet-equivalent connectivity between the MH-60R and the ship, enabling both to publish and subscribe for information,” said George Barton, director of Naval Helicopter Programs at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY. “With the enhanced interaction between the air and ship, the host ship can take fuller advantage of the Ku band pipeline’s capability, thereby giving the strike group commander greater situational awareness in the area of operation.”

“The SAU 07000 interface is an important step in integrating the MH-60R into a secure and interoperable naval communications network as part of the Navy’s Network-centric Warfare objective,” said Capt. Dean Peters, MH-60 Multi-Mission Helicopter program manager. “The interface also will prepare the MH-60R for future mission capabilities, such as over-the-horizon communications relay and connectivity to the U.S. Defense Department’s Global Information Grid.”

During the next 30 months, Lockheed Martin will develop software for MH-60R SAU 07000 integration, perform ground and flight tests in Owego, NY, and support U.S. Navy tests at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD. Ku band-capable MH-60Rs are scheduled for deployment as part of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Carrier Strike Group in 2012.

Developed jointly by the Naval Air Systems Command and the Naval Sea Systems Command, the SAU 07000 interface will be integrated into ship combat systems, including Aegis-equipped ships. SAU 07000-equipped MH-60R aircraft will remain backward compatible with the legacy C-band message interface to support naval ships that have not yet upgraded to the new interface.

The MH-60R multimission helicopter is designed and manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego is the systems integrator for the MH-60R, and also provides the digital cockpit, which is common to all MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters.

The two companies have delivered 48 MH-60R aircraft to the U.S. Navy to date, which has established four of 10 MH-60R squadrons. The Navy intends to purchase 300 MH-60R aircraft.

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego is the rotary wing center of excellence for Lockheed Martin Corporation. The company has more than 35 years of experience as a leading mission systems integrator of maritime helicopters, including the British Royal Navy’s Merlin Mk 1 helicopter fleet, and two generations of U.S. Navy helicopters, the SH-60B and the MH-60R.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.


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