Lockheed Martin led team gets MBMM protoype award
Lockheed Martin, Ball Aerospace, and Kratos Defense & Security Solutions have been awarded a $7.2 million prototype agreement by the US Defense Innovation Unit to develop a new Multi-Band, Multi-Mission (MBMM) prototype phased array.
The award is part of a broader initiative to modernise the existing US Air Force Satellite Control Network and bring new technology faster to warfighters and there are several teams competing in this part of the programme.
The MBMM enables multiple satellites to simultaneously connect with a single array antenna over multiple frequencies improving performance compared to traditional single contact parabolic dishes.
The Lockheed Martin team is building prototype transmit and receive electronically steerable arrays. Each array uses Ball’s advanced phased array technologies and supports L- and S-band frequencies initially. Signal processing is accomplished with Kratos’ digital intermediate frequency technology and cloud-enabled quantumRadio.
‘MBMM is a smarter way to quickly and affordably scale satellite transmission while lowering long-term maintenance costs for the air force,’ said Maria Demaree, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Mission Solutions. 'Today, when a parabolic antenna goes down, it can take days to repair; with MBMM, it will take hours and won’t take the entire site offline – that’s a tremendous advantage.'
‘One electronically steered antenna can replace multiple dishes, enabling better performance, connectivity and affordability,’ added Rob Freedman, vice president and general manager, Tactical Solutions, Ball Aerospace.
‘Software modems deployed in virtual machines gives MBMM an advantage because it is easy to scale signal processing on a much faster timeline than previously,’ concluded Frank Backes, senior vice president of Kratos Federal Space.
Future operational MBMM systems will offer new cyber resilience while reducing long-term sustainment costs for the air force. MBMM may eventually support multiple orbits from LEO to GEO and perform multiple missions at the same time, including command and control, launch pad and ascent operations, radar and mission data transmission.
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