Gaylia Campbell, the vice president for precision fires and combat maneuver systems at Lockheed Martin, discusses the company’s portfolio of precision fire systems programs, efforts to increase range and supportability with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian. The Interview was conducted at the Association of the United States Army’s annual Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Ala., where our coverage was sponsored by L3 Technologies and Leonardo DRS.
Vago Muradian: Welcome to the Defense and Aerospace Report. I’m Vago Muradian here in Huntsville, Alabama for the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Global Force Symposium, the number one winter meeting of U.S. Army leaders from around the world as well as industry, thought leaders, analysts and reporters here in Alabama where our coverage is sponsored by L3 Technologies and Leonardo DRS.
We’re here on one of the many exhibit halls at Lockheed Martin to talk to Gaylia Campbell who is the Vice President for Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems. The combat maneuver systems is always what slightly throws me off, Gaylia.
Very few companies have the kind of precision fire or long-range portfolio you have. Your history with the company goes back to when you were 18 years old on the ATACMS program. Obviously that was a precision long-range fire system, but then MLRS, then GLMRS, and you guys have HIMARS. Talk to us about the whole portfolio. It’s such a dynamic time. The Army requirements are rising. Production is rising. Talk to us about some of your key programs and where you are on them.
Gaylia Campbell: Definitely you did a great job about talking about the legacy that we have in the system. The MLRS family of munitions we’ve been doing for 40 years with really high reliability, high precision, on target every time.
Where we are today, so we have the guided MLRS rocket, that’s in production today and it’s so highly used around the world and so highly relied on by the Army that really our production rates have continued to go up and up recently. We’re really ramping to around 10,000 a year, so we’re really excited about that. We have customers coming in like Poland, like Romania.
We also have our Army TACMS. Army TACMS is back in production. We have the SMS partners coming in on that. As you may know, GMLRS is a range around 75 kilometers. We’ve got Army TACMS which is a range around 300 kilometers. So both of those are in production with rates going back up. We’re in production on HIMARS as well, which is our lighter launcher, C-130 transportable.
Mr. Muradian: Romania and Poland aboard on that?
Ms. Campbell: Romania and Poland as well in on HIMARS.
We also have our M270 heavy launchers which the Army is looking at recapping, beginning a recap program, and really their goal is to have both a fleet of heavy launchers and our HIMARS launchers back in the field through 2050. So that’s kind of the current portfolio today.
Mr. Muradian: So I was going to ask you, let’s talk about the future portfolio, because you have the PRISM system. Talk to us about where that fits, and also where the Army wants to go for these next generation. Because Colonel Rafferty is talking about very, very long range fires and I know you guys are part of that conversation.
Ms. Campbell: Absolutely. We’re super excited about all that.
On PRISM, PRISM is basically the Army’s replacement for TACM. It’s going to go out, instead of 300 kilometers it’s going to go out 499 kilometers. But the other really cool thing is it doubles their fire power because PRISM is two per pod so you’re going longer range with double the amount in one pod.
We are in competition on that program, really excited to support the Army’s needs on that.
With GLMRS we’re actually working an extended range version of GMLRS as well. I said before, currently it’s 75-80 kilometers. We’re looking at taking that out to 150 kilometers. And that’s going to be in the same pod, so six per pod. You’re still going to have that same fire power, the same number of bullets one might say, but be able to double the range. So both of those, we’re working really closely with the Futures Command, in supporting them in their desire to how do we extend the range, and then really looking at okay, what’s the next generation after that? What do we do after that? What else can we spiral in?
We definitely have shown, we have a legacy of doing that as well. These programs 20 years ago didn’t go near the range they are today. They didn’t have the capability they have today. We’ve spiraled in guidance, GPS and et cetera over the years. And this is now looking at okay, what’s that next generation of things that we spiral in? What do we look at with propulsion, cross-domain, different lethality? So there’s all kinds of options that we’re working with the Futures Command on that.
Mr. Muradian: I wanted to ask you, you mentioned 499. That’s the magic INF range number, but the United States, with the backing of its NATO allies, has said because of Russian violations of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, you’re going to back out of it. So that is technologically liberating, isn’t it? Because some of these weapon systems have been specifically limited to make them compliant with INF.
So could we see a really significant range revolution as far as you’re concerned?
Ms. Campbell: Definitely there is all kinds of options out there and as the Army releases requirements, we are ready to support those requirements across really a whole portfolio of products.
Mr. Muradian: I know that hypersonics is really big. You guys have a very, very, cool glide vehicle that’s sitting there. I know that a lot of that work is highly classified, but talk to us a little bit about how hypersonics goes into the portfolio of long-range precision attack. Because we know that our adversaries are working on these kinds of systems, both China and Russia having claimed that some of these are operational, although there is some debate about that.
Talk to us about how that fits into your portfolio and range of systems as the United States looks forward to reaching out both as an offensive weapon but also as a deterrent weapon.
Ms. Campbell: I would say that Lockheed Martin, that’s one of the great things that Lockheed Martin brings is that breadth of portfolio. So we have technologies that we have in our aeronautics business that we can apply to that problem. We have technologies that we’ve already developed say with space and high temperature for reentry that we can apply to that problem. Then we of course have our history of precision guidance, et cetera, that we have here at Missiles and Fire Control that we can apply to that problem.
That’s kind of the really amazing thing I think about Lockheed is that we can take really our strengths across multiple portfolios and put those towards solving the customer’s problem.
Mr. Muradian: Let me ask you a little bit about sort of industrial base and capacity. You said you were 10,000 rockets a year which is an extraordinary number. The Army actually wants even more insatiable demand, to try to up that production figure. If you look at it, these are highly sophisticated, complex systems with hundreds of subcontractors because you guys are, there’s some verticality of stuff you do but you’re also drawing on this industrial base. How much elasticity is there in the industrial base? What’s the kind of investment? And how are you working with your partners to get up on these run rates? Because almost every available dollar the Army is directing to deepen some of its magazines which, we were not in a great power competition. So there wasn’t a lot of that investment that would have existed, for example, decades ago.
Ms. Campbell: I think we work very closely with the Army to say okay, what makes sense? What’s the right level of investment? Where would that kind of, where’s the knee in the curve where okay, now I would need to have to go do very large investment, very large things in the industry that maybe don’t make sense in the long run. So we worked really closely with the Army to say okay, here’s where we could get quickly. Here’s where we could get with what we would consider to be a good amount of investment, a reasonable amount of investment. And if you want to go over this, then that starts to extend the time line as to when you can get there, or it starts to really greatly increase that dollar investment. So it might not make sense for the military to do that.
Mr. Muradian: When it comes to some of these systems when they sit on shelves, it has a shelf life but then it requires some rework on you guys’ part. How does that part of the equation work? How much of that work does the Army do? How much of the work do you guys do in keeping that inventory fresh? I know there are still some much older rounds that are still in the inventory that will be in the inventory for a while longer.
Ms. Campbell: Again, we work very closely with the Army on that. All that’s really defined at the time that you put your requirements together for these systems.
What we’ve seen is most of these systems are really greatly out-performing the original age requirement that they had in the system, and we go out along with the Army and test some of these older rounds to see okay, still performing even though this is way past. And what we’ve seen on TACMs is TACMs has been so highly reliable that a lot of the commanders out in the field aren’t willing to give them up to have them be any sort of service life extension because they believe the systems are great as is.
Mr. Muradian: It’s because of that extraordinary software programming you did when you joined the company.
Ms. Campbell: Yes. Back in the day, many years ago.
Mr. Muradian: Does actually the older nature of the software in some of these systems actually make them more secure in a lot of ways? Seeing as how the people who know how to program them actually were some decades ago? Very sophisticated weapons, but some of the programming and software on them is an older generation that was driven by reliability, nuclear hardening and a whole bunch of other requirements.
Ms. Campbell: I would say all these systems have been greatly modernized. So while they retain a lot of the great engineering that we put into them in the very beginning, that we built in from the beginning, they’ve also all been modernized. Sadly, the software that I wrote 18 years ago, is not in the system today.
Mr. Muradian: You mean it’s not JOVIAL anymore or C++ or anything like that?
Ms. Campbell: No. No, sadly not.
Mr. Muradian: That’s really disappointing. I should have known better. I was trying to be slightly cute with that question.
Let me ask you one last question. The focus here is Futures Command. We’ve heard from General Murray. The six Cross-Functional Teams, one of them is long-range precision fires. We’re asking all the senior executives here, how does that change how you do business and the relationship you guys have had with the customer? It’s very intimate, whether you’re working in a TRADOC level or Headquarters Army level or a contracting command. How is Futures Command changing how you work and interface with the Army?
Ms. Campbell: We’re really excited about the Futures Command. I think Lockheed Martin really embraces and understands the government’s need when they need to accelerate. When they have priority programs and they’re really trying to make sure hey, I’ve got needs out in the field today that I want to get there as quickly as possible. And definitely that’s something that Lockheed Martin has been very agile in working with the USG on multiple, you can cite multiple activities, multiple CFTs where we’re trying to work with the government and say okay, how do we help you? How do we learn forward as Lockheed Martin to help you get these capabilities out to the field as quickly as possible?
Mr. Muradian: Gaylia Campbell, who is the Vice President for Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems. Thank you very much. Best of luck. I look forward to seeing you in the future, and maybe we’ll come down and visit you in Texas.
Ms. Campbell: Absolutely. Nice to talk to you.
Mr. Muradian: Good talking to you.