Buoyed by tens of millions of defense dollars, Lockheed Martin Corp. has made Orlando ground zero for a "test range" to help the military develop antivirus technology to combat hacker attacks and cyber-terrorism.
The secret electronic system, known as the National Cyber Range, is being operated by an Orlando-based Lockheed unit and financed by the Army's Orlando simulation and training contract agency.
Details are classified, as with most other programs that come out of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, an Army spokeswoman said last week.
But it is apparent that the computer-based "weapons range" uses simulated viruses to develop and test the military's defense systems against cyber-attacks. And the military is beginning to put some serious money into developing that capability.
Lockheed snagged its latest cyber-range contract on May 23 — a $14.2 million deal from the Army's Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training & Instrumentation. Including a 2012 contract for nearly $15 million, the total value of the cyber-range work is nearly $75 million. That figure does not include the original millions of dollars in funding from DARPA.
According to the Department of Defense, the work "allows potentially virulent code to be introduced and studied on the cyber range without compromising the range itself."
Lockheed and other big players in the defense industry have expanded their work on cyber-warfare as it has emerged as one of the Pentagon's top priorities, said Michael Blades, a senior defense analyst for the Frost & Sullivan consulting firm.
"It's no secret that the Defense Department's two biggest areas of focus these days are unmanned systems and cyber warfare," he said. "Those are two areas of the budget they will fight to protect, even as other areas are being cut."
More sharing of workspaces
The latest entry in downtown Orlando's growing shared-workspace movement comes courtesy of Dennis R. Pape, head of the Florida Venture Sourcing business advisory firm and founder of the VenturePitch Orlando networking event. Pape last week rolled out his plan for the new project, dubbed "Catalyst," targeted for 7,000 square feet on the fifth floor of the Yowell-Duckworth Building at 1 S. Orange Ave. He expects a late-summer opening. Catalyst would join at least a half dozen other co-working spaces that have emerged in Orlando over the past several years.
Lockheed missile unit names 2 VPs
Lockheed Martin's Orlando missiles unit has named Rita C. Flaherty of Winter Garden vice president of strategy/business development for special-operations contractor logistics support. Daniel S. Norton was named vice president of strategy/business development for tactical missiles/combat maneuver systems. He is relocating from the United Kingdom, where he has been Lockheed's vice president of Europe operations for the information systems division.