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Lockheed Martin’s New Tactical ISR Satellites

Affordable Capability and Rapid Deployability

Addressing accelerating demand for space-enabled capabilities with a new line of rapid, integrated and affordable tactical ISR satellites, Lockheed Martin is seeking to enable tactical operations in tracking moving targets at extended ranges and operating effectively in contested and denied environments – on compressed timelines.

Based on flight-proven, mature components from the LM 400 mid-size bus and a production-friendly design, the affordable LM 400 satellite bus lies at the heart of this much-demanded capability. The satellites fully integrate ISR with combat capabilities and platforms in other domains, abbreviating the fin-fix-finish kill chain.

Benefits of the ISR satellites include:

  • Interoperability: using open standards to readily connect to other platforms and battle management systems;
  • Adaptability: the software-defined SmartSat platform enables new mission capabilities to be developed on orbit, ahead of evolving threats;
  • Power Management:t the high-powered LM 400 can support payloads to 14kW and 1,500kg in mass, enabling extended operations for a multiple sensor technologies;
  • Sustainability: powered by on-board processing and resilient connectivity, the satellites enable low-latency sensor tasking, on-orbit processing of mission data, protected communications and direct downlink of situational awareness and targeting information.

Digital engineering and manufacturing are accelerating our ability to deploy robust, future-focused constellations that feature leading-edge technology for our customers’ missions […] Our LM 400 is a highly adaptable, mid-sized satellite and yet can be produced at scale in a rapid and cost-effective manner,” observed Executive VP at Lockheed Martin Space, Rick Ambrose.

In persistent ISR, “at scale” translates to larger constellations and rapid satellite production and deployment. New high-capacity satellite manufacturing facilities at the company’s Gateway Center support accelerated space vehicle production, assembly and testing in a single, flexibly configured space, accommodating multiple security classification levels.

The LM 400-based tactical ISR satellites will play a key role in Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2), by allowing better tactical employment of space-based capabilities. Lockheed Martin is also developing and building 10 space vehicles over the next two years for the Space Development Agency’s (SDA) Transport Layer Tranche 0, characterized as the backbone of JADC2, enabling even more connectivity between ISR and combat units.

A notional representation of the tactical ISR satellite-enabled battlespace. (Image: Lockheed Martin)

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