ABU DHABI — Lockheed Martin is hoping to sign a contract following a pick by the United Arab Emirates as preferred bidder for an advanced air command and control system, a company executive said Sunday.
“It was in the July timeframe we were down selected as the preferred bidder,” said Clifton Spier, Middle East executive and vice president of C2 solutions at the Information Systems & Global Solutions division.
“They’re going through the review and approval process,” Spier said at the International Defense Exhibition & Conference (IDEX), which opened here Sunday.
The selection by the UAE is seen as vital as Lockheed Martin hopes to sell the C2 technology repackaged and badged as Diamond Shield to other countries around the Arabian Gulf region.
Lockheed beat a rival offer from ThalesRaytheonSystems (TRS) for the UAE’s Extended Air Defense Ground Environment-Transformation program, a battle management system for air operations, which includes defense against ballistic missiles.
TRS, a joint venture between Thales and Raytheon, got written notice of the UAE’s selection of Lockheed in the summer, a French defense expert said in Paris on Feb. 14.
TRS declined comment.
After the down select, UAE authorities gave Lockheed updates on the requirements, including sites where the system is to be deployed and the communications needed.
The information allowed the U.S. company to fine tune its proposal, file an updated submission, and start negotiations around September.
“We concluded our negotiations in the end of December,” Spier said.
“We’re expecting something in the next 45 days,” he said. “They’ve got to make their final decision. I knew they have made their recommendations.
“They might come back and re-open negotiations on some part. It’s really in their hands,” he said.
Lockheed executives believe their selection was due to use of state of the art, commercial off-the-shelf products, seven years’ company investment in command and control mission infrastructure, and open software architecture.
That open architecture helped lower pricing, expected to be much less than a reported estimate of $1 billion for the UAE.
The proposed system offers key functions in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, planning missions, and integrated air operations for offensive and defensive operations.
Lockheed has adapted and broadened the C2 technology developed specifically for the UAE and the company is marketing it under the Diamond Shield name, said Wes Clark, manager for C4ISR solutions business development.
The Diamond Shield system uses a network centric approach and allows missions such land force and maritime protection in addition to the original as integrated air and missile defense.
Radars can be plugged into the system to give a situational awareness and operators can see what assets can be used against a threat.
Diamond Shield is intended as a powerful force multiplier, and uses decision-support and automated planning tools to allow ease of use. The latter are seen as key given a shortage of trained personnel in the Gulf region.