WASHINGTON — A little more than a year after winning a U.S. Air Force contract to provide the network and operational management system for the Transformational Communications Satellite (T-Sat) system, Lockheed Martin has been meeting design milestones, but also waiting to see how a recent readjustment in the T-Sat program will affect the budget and timing for its part of the program.
The Air Force’s MilSatCom Joint Program Office awarded Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems and Solutions of San Jose, Calif., a $2 billion cost-plus contract in January 2006 for the T-Sat Mission Operating System (TMOS), which will connect the T-Sat space and ground segments into the Defense Department’s planned Global Information Grid.
T-Sat and TMOS are part of DoD’s Transformational Communications Architecture, which is intended to provide U.S. military forces with global Internet Protocol-based broadband products for such things as mission planning, policy management, network operations and management, situational awareness and a common operational picture. The system also is being designed to deliver all of the products in a highly secure fashion.
The satellites that TMOS will work with were originally scheduled to start launching in 2014, but the initial launch date has been delayed until 2016 due to budget reductions.
Jim Ivey, Lockheed Martin’s deputy program manager for TMOS, said in a telephone interview Feb. 6 that the team will be working this year to readjust TMOS’s timeline and budget to account for the slip. Ivey said the overall budget for the program likely would increase under the new plan, but probably most of the increase will be due to the inflation that comes from moving a project back to a later date.
Lockheed Martin is working on TMOS with a team that includes Telcordia Technologies of Piscataway, N.J. ; IBM of Armonk, N.Y. ; Northrop Grumman of Los Angeles ; SAIC of San Diego ; Verizon FNS of Washington; and L3 Communications of New York.
The company completed the network design review for TMOS in December, a review designed to make sure there is a solid network architecture in place for the program at large, Ivey said. Before that, the team successfully completed other, more basic reviews, looking at such things as how the program would stay on schedule and how Lockheed Martin’s plan would meet the program’s requirements.
The team’s next milestone is a system design review in April 2007, which will encompass the entire T-Sat program, including TMOS, Ivey said.
“We have a lot of hard work over the next couple of years laying out the network,” Ivey said. “It’s very important we have this for operational beyond-line-of-site communications, so that we have a solid architecture to follow in the future.”
The TMOS team led by Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems and Solutions already is working on that architecture with both of the companies competing to become the prime contractor for the T-Sat program — Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin, its corporate parent, and the Boeing Co. of Chicago, according to Mike McClary, Lockheed Martin program vice president for TMOS.
The draft request for proposal for T-Sat has been released, and the contract is expected to be awarded by the end of 2007, Ivey said. Though TMOS is being developed ahead of the award of the T-Sat contract, the team so far has not experienced major roadblocks in coordinating efforts with each of the candidate prime contractors, he said.
“There’s nothing that causes us to go into any kind of ‘wait and see’ mode,” Ivey said. “We have a good set of specifications and work is continuing pretty intensely. We’re supposed to be ahead of space so that we can burn down the risks that could occur at the system level.”
Ivey said that Lockheed believes it won the contract because its proposal took a lot of risk mitigation measures into consideration, such as concerns about interoperability and how the program will be implemented. They also relied largely on proven technology, he said.
“We started early in the program profiling what we thought the risk would be to the customer,” Ivey said. “We’re taking the best that industry has to offer and trying to bring that to the customer; this isn’t supposed to be a technology development program.”