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Contract to Develop Autonomous Unmanned Sensor

A two-year contract funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
will support of its “Integrated Sensor Is Structure (ISIS)” program.

By Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs

ROME, N.Y., June 22, 2006 – The Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded a $10,251,024 contract to Lockheed Martin Corp., Maritime Systems and Sensors, of Akron, Ohio.

The two-year contract is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of Arlington, Va., in support of its “Integrated Sensor Is Structure (ISIS)” program.

"Under this contract, Lockheed Martin will perform preliminary design and analysis, development, production and validation testing of an advanced airship hull material."

Jeffery L. Mack, program manager

ISIS envisions a stratospheric airship operating as a surveillance platform more than 70,000 feet above the Earth.

This is the second contract awarded to Lockheed Martin for portions of the ISIS research.

Two contracts were earlier awarded to divisions of Northrop Grumman Corp. and one was signed with Raytheon Systems Company of El Segundo, Calif.

The combined value of the five awards is in excess of $42.5 million.

The goal of the ISIS program is to develop a stratospheric airship-based autonomous unmanned sensor with years of persistence in surveillance and tracking of air and ground targets.

It will have the capability to track the most advanced cruise missiles at a distance in excess of 370 miles and dismounted enemy combatants on the ground nearly 200 miles away.

Achieving this goal will require the development of technologies that enable extremely large, lightweight phased-array radar antennas to be integrated into an airship platform.

Major technical challenges are the development of ultra-lightweight antennas, antenna calibration technologies, power systems, station keeping approaches, and airships that support extremely large antennas.

“Under this contract, Lockheed Martin will perform preliminary design and analysis, development, production and validation testing of an advanced airship hull material,” said Jeffery L. Mack, program manager in the Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate.

“The effort also includes developing the process to adhere both solar panels and radar arrays to the materials,” he explained. “Thirty hull material samples will be delivered to other ISIS contractors.”

“We are investigating four of the critical ISIS technologies here at Rome,” said Mack, citing active electronically scanned arrays, lightweight/low power transmit/receive modules and prime power for near-space environments, in addition to advanced hull material.

“The vision for this stratospheric platform is an array of sensors to create a radar nearly as large as the airship itself,” he emphasized.
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Sep. 17, 2014
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