Military Embedded Systems

Flying ISR laboratory from Lockheed Martin to be used by Italian air force


June 25, 2012

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

ROME. Engineers at Lockheed Martin in Denver have designed a flying intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) hub called the innovative Airborne Multi-Intelligence Laboratory (AML) for the Italian air force. The Italians are using the ISR aircraft in a live operational environment.

The AML is a Gulfstream III business converted by Lockheed Martin into an airborne test bed to expedite the testing and fielding of new C4ISR capabilities.

Lockheed Martin officials signed a use agreement with officials from the Italian Ministry of Defense (MoD) to provide not only the AML aircraft, but also three ground intelligence processing systems and flight crew and maintenance personnel for the aircraft. This agreement is set for one year, with an option to extend it to two years.

Under the agreement, Italian air force personnel will use the AML’s suite of intelligence computing capabilities such as signals intelligence arrays and forward-looking infrared radar (FLIR), in a live operational environment for the coming year. The airborne laboratory’s open architecture and configurable exterior physical structure enable the Italians to integrate more C4ISR components – hardware and software -- in a hours, rather than days. This open architecture design also enables the integration of the AML with current sovereign ground architectures while maintaining interoperability during coalition or NATO or coalition operations.

The AML will support a wide variety of missions including concept of operations development, training, and ISR operations. Lockheed Martin engineers will maintain the aircraft and its ground stations.

The Lockheed Martin AML team includes FLIR Government Systems, L-3 Communications Systems-West, DRS, and Rockwell Collins.

The AML work also furthered the development of Lockheed Martin’s Dragon ISR configuration family in 2011. The Dragon configurations enable customers to match up mission requirements and budget for their specific communications, sensor, and airframe needs.

Results of the AML’s performance for the Italian air force operations will influence future ISR Dragon configurations, says Charles Gulledge, Lockheed Martin IS&GS-Defense airborne reconnaissance systems business development lead.


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