Lockheed Wins $314 Million in Pentagon Blimp, Radar Contracts


The Department of Defense announced 64 separate contract awards worth $3.51 billion on Wednesday. Of these, defense contractor Lockheed Martin won two, including the third-biggest contract on offer for the day.

This contract, a cost-plus-fixed-fee, non-option eligible, non-multiyear, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quality contract worth $306.5 million, requires Lockheed to supply "persistent threat detection systems and related technical support services and material" to the U.S. Army. That sounds vague, but as it turns out, Lockheed has a product that fits the bill exactly. Its Persistent Threat Detection System, or PTDS, is a tethered aerostat-based system (i.e., a blimp) that the Army has been using since 2004 "to provide long endurance intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications in support of coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq." By loading ISR equipment onto a balloon and putting it high in the sky, the Army is able to vastly increase the effective area that can be observed by this equipment -- and saves on burning aviation fuel in the process.

Lockheed's PTDS aerostat. Source: Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed's other win on Wednesday was a much smaller $7.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price contract to conduct the technical refresh and integration of an "AN/TPS-59A(V)3 Radar System Netra T4-1 Server Mod Kit," to include replacement of the radar's data processor Netra T5220, operations console computers, and reintegration of the proprietary software. AN/TPS-59 is a phased array, three-dimensional, transportable air search radar that the U.S. Marine Corps uses for tactical ballistic missile defense. It can detect such missiles at distances in excess of 400 miles.

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