Microsoft, Lockheed Form New Cloud Collaboration Pact / MR.Cole_Photographer

The world's largest defense company has both internal initiatives and work with military customers in mind for this partnership.

Microsoft and Lockheed Martin have finalized a new three-year agreement that gives the latter expanded access to cloud computing capabilities so they can be applied into classified programs.

The pact means Lockheed becomes the first non-government entity allowed to operate independently in Microsoft's Azure cloud infrastructure offering for government at the secret level, the companies said Wednesday.

For Lockheed, the goal is to speed up its work on government programs and more easily share information with U.S. military customers regarding key defense initiatives.

One of Jim Taiclet's priorities for Lockheed since he became chief executive in 2020 is to further grow its partnership tent, in particular those with commercial technology firms whose offerings can augment military platforms and systems.

In the early spring, Lockheed announced a pact with Microsoft to explore how the Azure cloud offering can be applied in into the former's "5G.MIL" network architecture vision.

Classified cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learning, 5G and digital transformation are the key technology domains of focus for this partnership.

Lockheed will use Microsoft's Azure Government Secret cloud for cybersecurity reporting and monitoring, mission workloads, testing, exercises and modeling with respect to new systems and other technologies.

The world's largest defense company also plans to use that Azure variation for its own enterprise digital transformation push.

Azure Government Secret is one of three cloud offerings that are certified to work with the Defense Department's secret-level information at the highest level. Amazon Web Services and Palantir are the only other cloud providers that have the Impact Level 6 designation.