LOCKHEED MARTIN AWARDED $10 MILLION TO DEVELOP DARPA'S STRATOSPHERIC AIRSHIP FABRIC
AKRON, OH, 26-SEP-06 -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] has received a contract for approximately $10 million to further develop advanced material technology and next-generation hull material for stratospheric airships under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s Integrated Sensor Is Structure (ISIS) program.
Under the two-year contract, the ISIS program will develop the core technologies necessary to integrate an extremely capable sensor package directly into the structure of stratospheric airships, which operate at approximately 70,000 feet. DARPA solicited ideas in critical technology areas including low areal density, advanced airship hull material, low-power density radar apertures, low power and cost transmit-receive modules, and fully regenerative power systems.
“The Lockheed Martin team was chosen to develop this innovative material based on the strength of its scientific and manufacturing expertise,” said DARPA program manager Tim Clark. “Once successfully demonstrated, the DARPA material will dramatically reduce the weight and size of airships while improving operational longevity and payload capacity.”
With 75 years of experience with tethered and unmanned airships, Lockheed Martin will focus on the ISIS program’s critical strength-to-weight and life-expectancy metrics plus other key material performance requirements – such as shape, hull radius, thermal/environmental effects and reliability – during the material development and demonstration.
“With Lockheed Martin’s substantial investment and legacy in airship materials development, we have already begun the process of creating a unique, highly-engineered, flexible composite hull material,” said David Filicky, Lockheed Martin’s ISIS advanced materials program manager. “This fabric requires significant materials development and large-scale, low –anomaly manufacturing process advancements over current state-of-the-art airship hull material. This contract allows us to advance our innovative fabrication process while addressing the ISIS flight environment requirements.”
A leader in airship and aerostat development, fabrication, systems integration and operations, Lockheed Martin has developed more than 300 airships and thousands of aerostats. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the Missile Defense Agency’s High Altitude Airship, a stratospheric airship prototype, which will provide persistent surveillance along with other critical capabilities. The company also has provided tethered aerostat surveillance systems to both the U.S. Army for deployment in Iraq and to the U.S. Air Force to support air sovereignty and counter-drug operations along the southern U.S. border.