AIRSHOW-Lockheed teams with Bombardier, Raytheon for spy and control plane

Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:51am EDT
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(Adds details, executive comments)

By Andrea Shalal

PARIS, June 16 (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp announced on Tuesday that it will team with Raytheon Co and Canadian planemaker Bombardier to develop a new surveillance and command and control aircraft for a future U.S. Air Force competition.

Lockheed said the team aimed to develop a low-risk, affordable replacement for the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS), a ground surveillance, battle management, and command and control aircraft that was built by Northrop Grumman Corp.

Northrop and Boeing Co have also said they plan to compete for the contract when the Air Force launches a competition in the coming years.

The head of Lockheed's aeronautics division, Orlando Carvalho, told Reuters the project would be led by Lockheed's Skunkworks research and development shop and would feature an open architecture that would allow the government to own the technical baseline for future upgrades.

Lockheed will serve as the main integrator for the project, while Raytheon will bring its expertise with various surveillance sensors, mission systems integration, and JSTARS communications.

Bombardier will provide its ultra-long-range Global business jet, which Lockheed said is less expensive to operate than modern airliners and requires less refueling.

"We plan to bring all this technology and expertise together to offer what we believe will be a very competitive solution," Carvalho said.

Lockheed said the teaming agreement matched the U.S. government's desire for strong industry partnerships and would give the Air Force superior capabilities.

Carvalho said it was the first time that Lockheed had teamed up to pursue a major program with Bombardier. The Air Force already uses the Bombardier Global as the basis for its Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, or BACN program. (Editing by James Regan)