Lockheed signs deal with Maxar to enhance F-35 flight simulators

Two of the world’s largest defense contractors said they have signed a long-term agreement that will accelerate the procurement and delivery of geospatial information integral to F-35 pilot training.

Maxar Intelligence and Lockheed Martin announced an expanded partnership on May 6 and said they will improve the F-35 full-mission simulator. FMS, as it is known, puts people into a replica cockpit with displays and other equipment that replicate the software, sensors and weapons used on the actual aircraft.

Simulators are an important step in training and are useful for mission rehearsals. According to Lockheed, more than 1,300 people have been educated using FMS.

At its core are the photorealistic visuals and environments created by Maxar. The new agreement standardizes pricing, licensing and other requirements for its products, including Dynamic and Precision3D, which produce high-resolution imagery and 3D models of the Earth. The joint statement did not mention dollar figures.

“Maxar’s geospatial products, especially Precision3D, are critical to the success of this system,” said Susanne Hake, general manager of Maxar’s U.S. Government segment, in a statement. “They enable high-precision, precise simulations of reality in FMS. environment, creating an immersive experience that helps improve pilot safety and improve mission success.”

The Department of Defense is increasingly interested in the computerized world: The Army is considering virtual universes as a recruiting tool, thinking it might attract a younger generation, while Navy leaders advocate improved virtual testing technology for information warfare and other sensitive disciplines.

Doing things digitally eliminates the wear and tear of real-world materials while also increasing practice time. Hacker described FMS as “the industry gold standard for immersive training and mission readiness support.”

Lockheed is the world’s largest defense contractor by defense-related revenue, according to Defense News Top 100 analysis. The company will earn $63 billion in 2022.

Maxar ranks 77th with revenue of $952 million. Earlier this year, the company was appointed to perform additional work on One World Terrain, which is considered an important part of the Army’s integrated training environment.

Colin Demarest is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering military cyber, networking and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration, Cold War Cleanup and Nuclear Weapons Development, for a South Carolina daily. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.

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