Team Athena makes LEAPP

The Ministry of Defence aims to optimise UK soldiers’ situational awareness by investing in a solution that combines data from existing land, air and sea sensors in the field.

The £100m contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin’s Team Athena for the land environment air picture provision (LEAPP) programme.

This follows a two-year assessment of its capability to quickly and accurately recognise air threats to soldiers on the ground.

Other members of Team Athena include BAE Systems, Rockwell Collins, Saab and Qinetiq.

Stephen Ball, managing director at Lockheed Martin UK – INSYS, said: ‘LEAPP draws together information from a variety of sources to provide troops on the ground with a precise and timely picture of what is going on in the air.

‘By sharing this information quickly, securely and accurately LEAPP will have huge implications for the way future battles are fought.’

Ground-based sensors are connected to vehicle- or trailer-mounted equipment that combines incoming data to produce a comprehensive air picture. This is then distributed to the decision makers.

LEAPP draws from existing technology, such as Saab’s Giraffe agile multi-beam active radar.

This has a stacked beam antenna with one wide beam for transmission and multiple narrow beams for simultaneous reactions to reduce the reaction time and significantly increase the radar’s scan rate.

Other technologies that have a role in LEAPP include Lockheed Martin’s Silent Sentry sensor, which has missile tracking capabilities, and the Link 16, the MoD’s military communications channel.

John Fyall, a Lockheed Martin spokesman said the LEAPP programme is the first to integrate the existing information sources.

‘This is not creating a brand-new capability — what it is doing is pull existing capabilities all together and translate them really rapidly into one common information which is easy to understand and use in near real-time,’ he said.

The systems are scheduled to be delivered to the MoD from 2010.