Lockheed Martin and Microsoft partner on classified cloud, advanced technologies for Department of Defense

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Lockheed Martin and Microsoft announced an expansion of their strategic partnership to help fuel the Department of Defense’s (DOD) next generation of technologies.

The agreement will cover four crucial areas for the Department of Defense:

  • Classified Cloud Innovations: Lockheed Martin will be the first non-government institution to operate independently inside the Microsoft Azure Government Secret cloud, ushering in a new era of cloud prospects for the industry, thanks to Microsoft’s latest secure framework.
  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML), Modeling and Simulation Capabilities: Lockheed Martin and Microsoft have begun a two-year collaborative research and development (R&D) collaboration to strengthen the DOD’s AI/ML, modelling and simulation capabilities.
  • MIL® Programs: The research and development agreement also broadens the firms’ existing relationship to deliver enhanced networking and secure 5G capabilities at the tactical edge.
  • Digital Transformation: Microsoft Azure will enable Lockheed Martin’s digital transformation journey, speeding enterprise-wide productivity gains to deliver scaled innovation, increase choice and flexibility, and develop the next generation of defence technology.

“Through this historic agreement, Lockheed Martin and Microsoft are blazing a new path in classified cloud, artificial intelligence, and 5G.MIL® capabilities for the Department of Defense. We are creating faster, safer, and more affordable 21st Century Security solutions that infuse immersive experiences and other advanced commercial technologies into the most capable defense systems. We are confident this unrivaled combination of capabilities will help keep our customers ahead of new threats and challenges,” Yvonne Hodge, senior vice president, Enterprise Business and Digital Transformation, and chief information officer, Lockheed Martin said.

Jason Zander, executive vice president, Strategic Missions and Technologies, Microsoft stated: “Our national security leaders need an unassailable information advantage, which is why we’re bringing the power of the hyperscale cloud to accelerate their national security missions. In partnership with Lockheed Martin, we’re demonstrating how the defense industrial base can bring classified data into the cloud securely while bringing advanced 5G connectivity, critical data processing and analysis, and immersive experiences to the edge to support decision-making where it’s needed when it’s needed. Lockheed Martin is a valued partner in this effort, and we’ll continue to innovate and explore the art of the possible to support national security.”

Classified Cloud Innovations

After a year-long pilot, Lockheed Martin is the first member of the defence industrial base to utilise Microsoft’s most recent National Industrial Security Program (NISP) framework for air-gapped clouds. With the project expected to be operational in 2023, work is already underway to construct the classified and unclassified cloud environments.

Lockheed Martin will be able to flexibly grow IT demands under authorised direction and directly operate mission workloads inside Azure Government Secret, including highly restricted special programmes, thanks to Microsoft’s first-of-its-kind technology.

This enables Lockheed Martin to:

  • Upgrade its ageing on-premises classified systems to Azure Government Secret cloud tenants;
  • Increase cybersecurity reporting and compliance monitoring to near-real-time levels;
  • Create authorised mission workloads quickly;
  • Enhance enterprise information technology and research and development capabilities;
  • Increase corporate efficiency;
  • Host enterprise cloud management and centralised collaboration autonomously; and
  • Provide governance at a large scale.

AI/ML Modeling and Simulation Capabilities

Lockheed Martin will collaborate with Microsoft under this arrangement to build on Microsoft’s sophisticated gaming, exercising, modelling, and simulation (GEMS) and emulation solutions to deliver military planning and coordination through immersive environments. Lockheed Martin and its clients can use GEMS technology to test military equipment and technologies that power combined all-domain operations on a digital platform. By providing a digital alternative for some military exercises, such technologies have the potential to save DOD costs while also reducing risk to service members.

5g.MIL Programs

The firms will continue to create secure, robust communication systems that are interoperable with and easily link to existing DOD networks using Microsoft Azure solutions and Lockheed Martin’s 5G.MIL technologies. A tactical 5G core, large-scale administration and orchestration of apps and networks, and cloud-native security are among the key breakthroughs. In addition, the companies will develop space domain connectivity for low-infrastructure areas.

Advancing Lockheed Martin’s Digital Transformation

Lockheed Martin will develop its 1LMX business and digital transformation using Azure as a foundation. Lockheed Martin is establishing a model-based enterprise with a fully integrated digital thread throughout the design, construct, and sustain product life cycle by modernising its end-to-end business processes and technologies. As it delivers the next generation of DOD technologies, 1LMX is increasing its speed, agility, insights, and competitiveness. As part of this change, Lockheed Martin will become a multi-cloud environment in the unclassified area, with Microsoft Azure serving as the cloud provider.

Lockheed Martin’s use of the Azure cloud will provide unrivalled security across all devices, clouds, apps, and platforms. Microsoft’s industry-leading cybersecurity combines tremendous signal depth and variety (more than 24 trillion signals per day) with cutting-edge AI/ML and a global team of security specialists.

Throughout 2023, Lockheed Martin and Microsoft will continue developing each of the four critical areas and demonstrate increasingly complicated capabilities. This collaboration’s capabilities will be applicable to a wide range of defence applications across all domains, including land, sea, air, space, and cyber.


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