The U.S. Air Force recently awarded Lockheed Martin an $81 million Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction contract to provide a design and functional prototype to replace the aging Airborne Launch Control System aboard the E-6B Mercury Airborne Command Post.
The Airborne Launch Control System-Replacement (ALCS-R) program will provide a survivable alternate launch capability for the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). Slated for fielding by 2024, ALCS-R will continue the ALCS’s 50 year legacy of providing assured nuclear deterrence. As a key part of the nation’s nuclear modernization, ALCS-R will also provide the capability to command and control the future Ground Based Strategic Deterrent missile system, anticipated to replace the Minuteman III missiles starting in the late 2020s.
“ALCS-R provides the future generation of assured communication and secure command and control for America’s ground based nuclear missiles,” said Vinny Sica, vice president and general manager of Mission Solutions at Lockheed Martin Space. “We recognize the importance of modernizing the nation’s nuclear command and control systems to ensure total system resiliency and enhanced nuclear deterrence. We are proud to partner with the Air Force to achieve this critical mission capability.”
Under the TMRR phase of the program, Lockheed Martin will produce a comprehensive design and prototype of the new ALCS-R system. The Air Force’s overall modernization plan for the ALCS includes upgraded radios, launch control systems and cryptographic devices. The new system will utilize modern technologies that will be upgradeable through 2075. The system will be ruggedized and hardened, and will utilize modern cyber security techniques to protect the system from attack.
Lockheed Martin is teamed with L3 Technologies, who will lead the development of the secure communications architecture for ALCS-R. “Working closely with Lockheed Martin on this important program will provide the needed encryption and communications to enable this system to be successful for the customer,” said Andy Ivers, Senior Vice President, and President, L3 Communication Systems Segment for L3 Technologies. L3 Technologies has been a leader in waveform, communications and cryptographic equipment development for over 60 years, and will build on that legacy as a partner on the ALCS-R program.