Say the name Lockheed Martin and listeners might immediately think of the F-22 Raptor, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Aegis air and missile defense system, military satellites, ballistic missiles and space launch systems. Lockheed also happens to be one of the nation’s premier IT and cyber security companies, providing products and services not only to the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community but to major federal agencies such as the Veterans’ Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, FBI and Department of Energy.
But over the past few years, Lockheed Martin has emerged as a major player in the military vehicle space. Just this week, the company was one of four awarded a development contract for the Marine Corps Personnel Carrier (MPC) vehicle. The new vehicle will replace the aging light armored vehicle and operate in concert with the Amphibious Combat Vehicle, the new name for a less ambitious version of the canceled Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.
Last month, Lockheed Martin was a winner in the next phase of the competition to design and build the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). The JLTV is the Army-Marine Corps replacement for the Humvee, intended to have higher mobility than existing utility vehicles but with greater protection than an MRAP. Lockheed is teamed with BAE Systems which has a lot of experience in producing military vehicles. If it wins the final competition, the company will likely be producing JLTVs for many decades to come.
The MPC and JLTV awards reflect part of Lockheed Martin’s strategy for maintaining its position as the world’s number one defense contractor by moving aggressively into new, but related military markets. Back around 2004, the company decided to capitalize on its extensive experience with integrating complex systems for Navy ships by bidding as a prime contractor (teaming with ship builder Marinette Marine) for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). Now Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics are on contract to produce a total of ten LCS. The company is also poised to become a major producer of military vehicles. Over the next several years you can expect additional forays into new areas.
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