Lockheed Still in Hunt for FAA Telecom Project

The end of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s global telecommunications business does not signal the end of the company's involvement in the telecom industry. Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Md., continues to lead a team pursuing the Federal Aviation Administration's multibillion-dollar telecom infrastructure project, known as FTI.

FTI is a 10-year, $2 billion program to replace the FAA's telecommunications systems with a single integrated communications network. Bids for the contract, which includes options that could extend it over 15 years, are due in January, with the contract award scheduled for the end of June 2002.

Lockheed Martin announced Dec. 7 that it plans to shut down Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications and exit the global telecommunications business, citing overcapacity in the industry worldwide as the primary reason for the decision.

Since that announcement, the company has had to reassure government officials, industry partners and even Lockheed Martin employees, who have wanted to know what effect the decision would have on the company's pursuit of FTI.

"Teammates have called and said what's up?" said Jack Clemons, senior vice president of strategic programs and the company's FTI "capture" executive. "We've gotten at least one call from someone in the agency ? though not with the acquisition team ? and frankly even one or two from Lockheed internally."

The decision to close the Global Telecommunications unit didn't affect the company's FTI aspirations because the unit was never part of the company's team pursuing the contract, Clemons said.

"They just weren't part of any solution [for FTI]," Clemons said. "We do have other parts of Lockheed who are teammates... A couple of divisions within Lockheed Martin that provide mission-critical support services to the Department of Defense and other classified agencies [seems] like a more logical link."

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