Microsoft, Lockheed Martin Sign Simulator Pact

Microsoft and Lockheed Martin have announced a deal to license the software titan’s simulation software — dubbed “ESP” — for use in the aerospace firm’s battle training simulations.

The announcement of the strategic alliance between the two firms came at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference (I/ITSEC) this week in Orlando, Fla.

Additionally, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is also demonstrating its first ESP-based application on the show floor, according to statements from the aerospace giant and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).

“The training needs of our military and civil government customers continue to expand,” Chester Kennedy, vice president of engineering at Lockheed Martin’s Simulation, Training & Support business unit, said in a statement.

“Developing new innovative solutions such as this one based on the proven Microsoft ESP technology allows Lockheed Martin to provide our customers with new and tailored training systems more quickly and cost efficiently,” Kennedy added.

Referred to as the Pilatus PC-12, the desktop trainer showcases affordable, powerful training, and mission rehearsal capabilities in Microsoft’s ESP technology, according to the two firms’ statements.

At the heart of the deal, is the intellectual property (IP) agreement that the two companies struck.

The agreement gives the aerospace firm access to Microsoft’s ESP technology portfolio, which allows Lockheed Martin to construct “cost effective” simulations for its global customer base. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Flight training and beyond

“Lockheed Martin’s software development teams will extend the current capabilities of ESP to enable a whole new suite of innovative ESP-based solutions that will evolve beyond flight training to include ground and civil agency applications,” Microsoft’s statement said.

ESP was designed to provide a visual simulation development platform meant for immersive games-based applications for training and decision support in a wide range of areas — including government, education, and commercial use.

The deal is an expansion of a pre-existing strategic alliance between the two companies.

Chris Cortez, general manager of strategic programs at Microsoft, as well as a retired Marine Corps major general, characterized ESP as designed to “engage users in immersive experiences with very realistic environments — making them ideal tools for training, evaluating, and preparing personnel for optimal performance in the real world.”

The alliance builds on existing collaborations between Microsoft and Lockheed Martin, the companies said. Microsoft and Lockheed Martin did not enumerate those projects in their current statements, but some strategic projects began nearly a decade ago.

A spokesperson for Microsoft could not be reached in time for publication.

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