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Lockheed Martin Australia demonstrates ‘Agile Shield’ battle management system

Lockheed Martin Australia has completed a Field Capability Demonstration (FCD) of its ‘Agile Shield’ battle management system at the Puckapunyal Military Area in Victoria.

‘Agile Shield’ was developed by Lockheed Martin Australia’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Leadership and Research Laboratory (STELaRLab) in a Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF) contract awarded under Defence’s Counter Improvised Threats Grand Challenge (CIT-GC). The NGTF has now been superseded by the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA).

Lockheed Martin Australia was awarded the $9 million contract to develop Agile Shield in 2021. It is a Counter Improvised Threat (CIT) detection, neutralisation and mitigation system, capable of operating in a complex joint battlespace, that minimises risk to Defence personnel and civilians. The battle management system was deployed to Puckapunyal, set-up and tested over three weeks, culminating in a series of live environment demonstrations for select Defence personnel.

The FCD included the deployment of a cluster of Agile Shield nodes into a controlled environment targeted by Uninhabited Aerial System (UAS) threats.

Sensor data from the nodes was fused into a common operating picture for analysis by the system’s intelligent threat evaluation and weapon assignment algorithms, which then generated optimised engagement recommendations to enhance the likelihood of defeating the UAS threats.

The Agile Shield system interface enabled an operator to either approve or reject engagement recommendations, or generate manual engagement commands. Finally, authorised commands were then sent to the effectors for execution to engage the UAS threats.

Dr. Tony Lindsay, Director of STELaRLab, said, “The successful completion of the Field Capability Demonstration represents a critical milestone in the development of this important sovereign Defence capability.

“While the demonstration focused on countering Uninhabited Aerial System threats, the Agile Shield battle management system will empower the Australian Defence Force to respond effectively to the increasingly complex and sophisticated array of improvised threats emerging from across land, air and maritime domains.”

Agile Shield Chief Engineer, STELaRLab’s Kevin McDonald, said, “Over the last three years we have worked closely with industry partners to realise our shared vision of a modular, open mission system design for the Agile Shield battle management system.

“The Field Capability Demonstration allowed us to show that, while the Agile Shield battle management system has the intrinsic capability for fully-autonomous operation, the design philosophy is founded on agility and ability to adapt to the unknown – characteristics that fundamentally mandate a warfighter-centric approach.”

Chief Defence Scientist Prof Tanya Monro, AC said, “Agile Shield demonstrates the ability of the Australian Defence, Science and Technology ecosystem to develop an innovative Defence capability to enhance the Australian warfighter.

“Employing a mix of sensors and effectors against a suite of Unoccupied Aerial Systems or UAS, the development team successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of the Agile Shield Command and Control System.”

As the prime system integrator, STELaRLab has partnered with SMEs in the design and implementation of the Agile Shield battle management system, including: Clearbox Systems; InTrack Solutions; DroneShield; Department 13; Codarra Advanced Systems; Trakka Corp; and Silentium Defence.

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