PARIS (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had won a $104 million U.S. Air Force contract to develop, produce and field a threat simulator to train combat aircrews to recognise and deal with rapidly evolving threats, such as surface-to-air missiles.
Tim Cahill, vice president of air and missile defence systems for Lockheed, said a number of other countries had already expressed interest in the Advanced Radar Threat System Variant 2, and talks could begin soon on possible sales.
Cahill did not estimate the volume of possible future sales, but potential buyers included all countries that plan to operate the stealthy F-35 fighter jet in coming years.
“It’s a cool little programme,” he said. “This is just the first tranche, but it has the potential to be a really big programme for us.”
“As the capabilities on the ground from potential threat nations get stronger and better and more capable ... it’s very important that the pilots need to train against a system that is actually a high-fidelity simulation of what they would fly against in combat,” he said.
The contract calls for development and delivery of a production-ready system and options to produce up to 20 more.
Cahill said the truck-mounted system would emit signals that simulated those of current and evolving advanced surface-to-air threats.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Mark Potter