General Dynamics lose to Lockheed Martin for Army long-range jammer program

Lockheed Martin has picked up yet another multi-million dollar contract from the US Army, this time for a long-range electronic warfare jammer.
Christopher McFadden
Lockheed Martin should have a working prototype by 2025.

Three Spots/iStock 

The United States Army awarded Lockheed Martin a new multi-million dollar contract to build a specialist long-range electronic warfare system. The Terrestrial Layer System-Echelons Above Brigade, or TLS-EAB, the  $36.7 million contract should see a prototype ready by 2025 with an eye to full deployment by 2030.

Lockheed Martin won out against its main competitor General Dynamics Mission Systems, for the prize. The objective is to create a crucial tool for the service's "deep sensing" strategy- long-range electronic warfare, signals intelligence, and cyber system. This comes in light of the Army needing to operate at greater distances as it faces more advanced adversaries like China. Thus, the need arises for improved sensing capabilities at higher echelons.

Lockheed beat GE to the prize

In August 2022, contract announcements revealed that both Lockheed and General Dynamics Mission Systems participated in initial design and software demonstrations. The TLS-EAB system is designed to cater to the needs of larger Army units, such as divisions and corps, that possess significant troop numbers and powerful weaponry. To this end, it will play a crucial role in the deep sensing strategy, enabling identifying, monitoring, and neutralizing opponents from a safer and more extensive range.

This strategy is necessary to counter technologically advanced forces like those from China and Russia.

“The U.S. Army’s family-of-systems concept is a proven model for developing and delivering converged cyber and electronic warfare technologies into the hands of the warfighter quickly, cost-efficiently, with lower risk, and at the speed of relevance,” Deon Viergutz, Lockheed’s vice president of spectrum convergence, said in a statement on June 27.

Lockheed Martin is currently developing TLS-EAB's smaller and more tactically inclined counterpart called Terrestrial Layer System-Brigade Combat Team (TLS-BCT) and an airborne jammer referred to as Multi-Function Electronic Warfare-Air Large (MFEW-AL).

"The next steps for TLS-EAB prototyping will feature a deliberate focus on soldier feedback and open digital infrastructure to ensure the system “can be easily tailored for specific mission requirements,” added Viergutz. In April, an Army representative informed C4ISRNET that the service was enhancing its acquisition strategy for TLS-EAB, focusing on flexibility.

“I think we’re going to build tailored solutions to the combatant commands we’re going to operate in and iterate that over and over and over again so that we build, sort of, a specific solution for the different type of contested and congested environments we’ll see,” Mark Kitz, the program executive officer for intelligence, electronic warfare, and sensors, said at the time.

The tech is necessary to combat Russia and China

Indo-Pacific Command looks “very different than Africa, looks very different than anywhere,” he added. “We can’t just cookie cutter a solution that’s going to marginally work in that combatant command,” he explained.

According to Defenses Coop, the Army has been working on rebuilding its electronic warfare arsenal and architecture for the battlefield for several years now. Due to the challenges posed by modern threats, the service had to develop new and more advanced systems after divesting much of its capability following the Cold War.

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