Lockheed Martin gets $142 mln US army contract

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By Balasubramanyam Seshan | June 9, 2010 3:40 AM EST

Lockheed Martin, a US defense technology company, said it has got a $142 million award from the U.S. Army to commence production of additional Persistent Threat Detection Systems (PTDS) to support coalition forces.

Lockheed Martin said PTDS is a tethered aerostat-based system, capable of staying aloft for weeks at a time, which provides round-the-clock surveillance of broad areas. The Army began using the system in 2004.

The PTDS is equipped with multi-mission sensors to provide long endurance intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications in support of the United States military and its allies.

The Department of Defense is making a concerted effort to rapidly increase the resources available to help warfighters detect improvised explosive devices.

“The PTDS delivers real-time surveillance and actionable intelligence to our troops to help them in life-threatening situations. These eyes in the sky protect soldiers and civilians and let the hostiles know that they are constantly being watched,” said Stephanie Hill, Integrated Defense Technologies vice president at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Sensors.

The Army's firm-fixed-price undefinitized contract action enables Lockheed Martin to commence work on the systems while final contract terms are negotiated.

The latest systems are in addition to the previous ones the Army ordered from Lockheed Martin in the past six months. The majority of the work on the systems will be performed in Akron, OH, with additional work in Cape Canaveral, FL, Moorestown, NJ and Owego, NY.

PTDS, filled with helium, provides low-cost, continuous communications and persistent surveillance capabilities not possible with other types of manned and unmanned aircraft. PTDS, attached by a high-strength tether to a re-locatable mooring system, carries different types of surveillance equipment to conduct multiple missions.

In a separate release, Lockheed Martin said it has developed a ruggedized, tactical handheld device for dismounted Soldiers. The Tactical Digital Assistant, or TDA, provides unprecedented situational awareness, command and control, and blue force tracking capabilities to brigade and below forces.

Lockheed Martin said its TDA allows dismounted Soldiers to maintain secure communications and exchange vital position and situational awareness data with mounted forces in an operational environment. Its intuitive user interface supports shared full motion video and sensor command and control. Unlike similar commercial technology, the TDA's ruggedized design can withstand harsh operational environments.

Lockheed Martin said the TDA interfaces with both fielded U.S. Army Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) and emerging Joint Battle Command-Platform systems. Lockheed Martin is developing numerous applications for the TDA to support battlefield challenges. The TDA is compatible with current FBCB2 software and provides the flexibility to host the Google Android operating system.

Lockheed Martin shares are currently trading at $76.59, up 27 cents or 0.35% on the NYSE.

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