Space has often been referred to as “the final frontier.” It has proven invaluable for quickly plotting geographic location per the many satellites of the Global Positioning System (GPS). And, with the launch of its smaller satellites for the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Joint All-Domain Operations (JADO) in 2023, Lockheed Martin plans to demonstrate that space also can serve as an effective operating environment for a constellation of surveillance satellites with tight communications links.
The DoD expects to stay head of threats by means of a JADO network (see figure) that can provide the armed forces with critical information across sea, land, air, space, and cyber domains.
The JADO will equip the DoD and allies with the tools for its 21st Century Security (21CS) systems. As part of its planned JADO actions, Lockheed Martin will launch three self-funded small satellites as part of a space-augmented JADO environmental (SAJE) test bed. Two Pony Express 2 satellites will be launched in addition to one Tactical Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) and Communications satellite.
The combination of sensors, processors, and communications links will provide a miniature version of the full JADO system and enable demonstrations and experiments to be performed with the trio of orbiting satellites. The test bed will be available for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Northern Edge exercise in 2023. It also will be available to the U.S. Navy’s Project Overmatch and U.S. Army’s Project Convergence, which are expected to explore the implementation of multiple-domain surveillance/communications systems.