'Paintless' Film Evaluated In C-130 Flight Test
FORT WORTH, Texas, June 17th, 1998 -- A Lockheed Martin/3M team recently completed the second in a series of C-130 "Paintless" film applications. This application and associated flight tests, using a new generation film, are intended to validate the potential benefits of using appliqués instead of paint on commercial and military aircraft.
Aircraft appliqués consist of paint replacement adhesive films designed to offer potential savings in production costs, support requirements and aircraft weight. They also offer significant environmental advantages, since commercial and military painting operations are a major source of emissions.
Lockheed Martin and 3M Corporation are developing appliqué technologies under a cost sharing cooperative agreement with the Department of Commerce. The objectives of the program are to validate these technologies for future commercialization. This cooperative work has resulted in two 1998 Industry Awards (Flight International’s Aviation Industry Award and Aviation Week’s Technology Innovation Award).
In the most recent application to the C-130, approximately 1600 square feet of the aircraft fuselage forward of the wing was treated. The color scheme was chosen to match existing Air Force color specifications. Markings on the forward fuselage were applied using precut appliqués. The first flight with the new generation film took place on May 22 from Fort Worth, where the film was applied, to the plane’s base in Biloxi, Mississippi.
In addition to applying paintless appliqués to the C-130, the Lockheed Martin/3M team has been applying and flight testing them over the past three years on an S-3, an F-16 and commercial aircraft . Trial applications to the C-130 are particularly relevant to the eventual commercialization of appliqués, given the aircraft’s similarity in size and shape to small airliners.
Lockheed Martin is also evaluating the potential benefits of applying paintless coating technologies to future programs. On the Joint Strike Fighter program, paintless appliqués could save a projected $3 billion in life cycle costs, according to preliminary estimates for 3,000 aircraft.