By John McHale
HANSCOM AFB, Mass. - The U.S. Air Force Electronic Systems Center’s 350th Electronic Systems Group at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., awarded a $589 million contract to Lockheed Martin Corp. to serve as the Air and Space Operations Center (AOC) Weapon System Integrator (WSI), aiding the government’s management, integration, fielding, and sustainment of the AOC weapon system.
The effort will evolve command and control centers to support net-centric joint and coalition operations worldwide. “The overarching objective of the WSI is to improve AOC weapon system operational effectiveness and efficiency,” says WSI deputy program manager Capt. Tony Monnat.
“By implementing an open, service-oriented architecture across the AOC enterprise, the government and Lockheed Martin team will enable greater collaboration internally within the AOC and externally with other joint and coalition warfare elements,” says John Mengucci, vice president and general manager of Department of Defense Systems for Lockheed Martin IS&S.
“This approach will also allow the Air Force to quickly and easily accommodate new capabilities and technologies, ensuring a cost-effective, low-risk growth path to net-centric operations. Warfighters can expect rapid operational improvements that consistently meet or exceed expectations,” he says.
The Lockheed Martin team includes Raytheon, SAIC, IBM, L-3 Communications, Dynamics Research Corp., Intelligent Software Solutions, Gestalt, and Computer Sciences Corp.
The WSI aims to do this by establishing robust metrics and systems engineering processes across the weapon system. “In addition, it will accomplish in-depth analysis and trade studies on requirements, priorities, existing and future capabilities and infrastructure, and then make recommendations to the government and implement solutions as directed,” Monnat says.
An AOC WS enables the Commander Air Force Forces, Joint Forces Air Component Commander, and supported/supporting commanders to exercise command and control of air, space, information operations, and combat support forces to achieve the objectives of the Joint Force Commander and Combatant Commander in joint and coalition military operations. As such, it is the planning and execution engine of any air campaign.
The WSI provides trained personnel and integrated, interoperable information systems, and applications to achieve decision and execution superiority of C2 functions and processes.
The WSI will perform numerous critical tasks, to include:
- systems engineering activities that address risk management, metrics, and support for the government’s efforts to achieve operational safety, suitability and effectiveness;
- establishing and maintaining configuration and performance baselines;
- delivering an integration environment that will help third-party developers bring applications to the AOC that are more easily integrated;
- evolving the weapon system infrastructure to a more open, “net-centric” architecture that is Net-centric Enterprise Solutions for Interoperability compliant;
- accomplishing objective analysis of alternatives and make recommendations to the government for new and existing capabilities and the best way to integrate them (taking Net-Centricity and total ownership cost into account);
- helping the government divest itself from unnecessarily duplicative or low return on investment applications; and
- optimizing fielding (while minimizing operational disruption), sustainment, and training.
Currently, there are 19 AOC sites around the world. In April, program guidance received from the Air Staff directed the support of 23 AOC sites. These include five Falconer AOCs for theater operations; four tailored Falconer AOCs for homeland and strategic defense; two functional AOCs for space and mobility; and 12 AOC support functions for integration/testing/assessment, technical support, training, backup, and augmentation.
The AOC WSI effort will evolve this heterogeneous infrastructure into a standardized, seamless, integrated enterprise, Lockheed Martin officials say. This will enable interoperability across the AOCs for faster access to intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, targeting, and other important operational data. It will provide a common technical baseline for efficient and cost-effective technology upgrades while reducing the cost and footprint for deployed personnel and material, company officials say.
The AOC WSI team will take full advantage of the Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation in Suffolk, Va., relying on the facility’s analysis, modeling, and simulation tools in a “C2ISR Wind Tunnel” configuration for rapid analysis of potential improvements. The Center provides a rich experimentation environment as well as an infrastructure for collaboration with AOC Weapon System stakeholders and organizations, company officials say.
The initial contract award has a base of three years with priced options that can take the period of performance out to five years. The total value of the contract is estimated at approximately $1 billion for the entire five-year period of performance (includes priced options).
In addition, there are five more years of unpriced options, bringing the potential total contract period of performance to 10 years at an estimated value of $2 billion.