U.S. Army soldiers use tactical imagery during an exercise is Torun, Poland. Credit: Army

WASHINGTON — Raytheon announced June 28 it is teaming with seven aerospace and data analytics companies to develop a ground station for the U.S. Army that can process data from air and space sensors.

Raytheon and Palantir in January were selected to develop competing concepts for the Army’s tactical intelligence targeting access node, or TITAN. The Army wants a mobile ground station that fuses and analyzes data from satellites, aerial and terrestrial sensors.

The Army’s program office that oversees intelligence and sensors awarded Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreements to Raytheon and Palantir, each worth $8.5 million, to design ground station prototypes over 12 months. OTA agreements require contractors to invest in the project and are used by DoD to prototype technologies on a faster timeline than under traditional contracts.

Raytheon has teamed with seven companies: Algorithmia and C3.ai for data analytics, Collins Aerospace for communications technology, Curtiss-Wright Defense for network infrastructure, Esri for geographic information software, General Dynamics Mission Systems for vehicle manufacturing, and L3Harris for communications and datalink equipment.

The Army said the TITAN ground station will support soldiers and analysts handling large volumes of sensor data. 

The OTA agreements with Raytheon and Palantir call for multiple phases of tests and evaluations before the Army decides whether to procure the system for operational use.

Army leaders said commanders in the field today rely on dozens of different tactical ground stations and need a consolidated platform that provides access to imaging satellites, surveillance drones and other sensors in the battlefield.

Northrop Grumman, meanwhile, is developing two prototype TITAN ground stations under a contract from the Defense Innovation Unit and the Army Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities office.

These prototypes are to “demonstrate the value of commercial and military space assets in improving battlefield awareness,” the company said. Northrop Grumman’s designs will be tested in exercises in 2022 and 2023.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...