Skunk Works' Project Hunter exercise highlights battlespace awareness

PALMDALE, Calif. The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works recently participated in the Northern Edge military exercise as a demonstration of open systems architecture and its usefulness in enhancing battlespace awareness to reduce warfighters' data-to-decision time line.

A series of six flights performed at the Air Force's Northern Edge exercises -- in which the test area included mountainous territory in Alaska plus thousands of square miles over the Gulf of Alaska -- wrapped up 's "Project Hunter" research and development effort, which used open systems architecture technologies and demonstrated data-sharing across dissimilar platforms in denied environments.

The operational core of the system was a modified Enterprise OSA Mission Computer v2, known as the Einstein Box; the Einstein Box hosted all of the Open Mission Systems (OMS) processing and cross domain capabilities, serving as the interface to all radios.

The Project Hunter exercise, say Lockheed Martin officials, successfully demonstrated the first use of open radio architecture to implement and evaluate advanced networking and communications capabilities, multidomain command-and-control capabilities, the ability to disseminate data from the distributed ground system via a secure Open Mission Systems (OMS)-enabled Link 16 radio, and the enhanced Link 16 fighter-to-fighter OMS capability integration.

Renee Pasman, director of mission systems road maps at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, said of the exercise: "We used a highly capable, high altitude U-2 as a vital communications and processing node, connecting a web of systems across multiple domains and enabling complete battlespace awareness."

Skunk Works is an official pseudonym for Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs (ADP); the division is known for its high degree of autonomy and ability to bypass company bureaucracy as it works on creating revolutionary aircraft and technologies.

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