Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Lockheed Martin (seems like a LM day huh?) has a new website here.

Skunk Works Air Ships.

One Million Pounds of Cargo By Air

The revived interest in very large cargo airships can be directly linked to global commerce. More than 36 billion tons of cargo — everything from flowers to food to Formula 1 race cars — are shipped around the world annually. But in the last twenty years, the military has also seen a need to quickly move large quantities of everything from relief supplies to tanks into areas that often don’t have adequate — if any — infrastructure. A ship can carry a large load inexpensively, but it takes two to three weeks to get from China to the United States. A 747 air freighter can get cargo around the world in hours, but the cost is about sixty cents per ton mile, and space is limited. With a hybrid airship, a large quantity of good can be shipped around the world in about three days for around twenty-five cents per ton mile. The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works is developing a family of airships to fill that middle niche. By 2016, the captain of an airship nearly the length of three football fields and capable of carrying one million pounds of cargo (shown here) could issue the traditional "Up ship" command before starting a trip across the Atlantic.

SkyFreighter Cargo Box

The second in a family of hybrid airships, called SkyFreighter, is a regional lifter capable of carrying seventy tons of cargo. First flight of a 400-foot-long SkyFreighter is expected to come in 2014. This shot shows a fully equippped Stryker armored vehicle in the SkyFreighter cargo box, illustrating the airship's military potential. The cargo box for all three hybrid airship variants will have a roll-on/roll-off capability for vehicles.


The hybrid airship demonstrator was given the identifier P-791. The company-funded demonstrator, which is 123 feet long, fifty-three feet wide, and thirty feet high, was built in 2005. First flight came on 31 January 2006. All of the major components — cockpit, engines, fuel lines, control surfaces, ACLS pads — are attached on the outside of the envelope. The envelope is woven Vectran, a lightweight, high-strength material similar to Kevlar. The engines and propellers are mounted on aluminum rings that allow vectoring up and down and left and right for climbing, descending, and steering. The forward engine mounts are lashed to the envelope, while the two aft engines are attached with a composite, wishbone-shaped assembly that fits along the contours of the envelope. The engine/propeller/mount combinations, called thrusters, give P-791 a top speed of about thirty knots.


The third and largest variant of the hybrid airship family is called SkyLiner. This behemoth, expected to be flown in 2016, will measure 800 feet long and be capable of lifting 500 tons of cargo. SkyLiner will be used on international or transoceanic routes. The Air Cushion Landing System pads on SkyLiner, which will measure eighty feet long and thirteen feet tall, will retract to reduce drag. The projected commercial market could support a fleet of several hundred SkyLiners. All three airship variants will have long, rectangular cargo containers attached underneath the envelope. The flight deck is located in front. Each box will have a roll-on/roll-off capability and will accommodate containers or pallets. The SkyLiner cargo box is 300 feet long, fifty feet wide, and thirty feet tall with an upper and a lower deck.


The Lockheed Martin hybrid airship demonstrator, called P-791, is 123 feet long, fifty-three feet wide, and thirty feet high, was built in 2005. First flight came on 31 January 2006. Company test pilot Eric Hansen made the first two flights and was followed by Bill Francis. The pilots sat side by side in an enclosed gondola with flight engineer Tim Blunck. A total of six flights, each about thirty minutes long, were carried out in the P-791 test program. The tests were mostly ground handling demonstrations. When out of ground effect, the airship crew remained in the traffic pattern at Palmdale, staying below 2,000 feet.


A year after going on contract, Aviation Capital Enterprises, based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, announced on 17 March 2011 that it had teamed with the Skunk Works to develop, build, test, and certify to US Federal Aviation Administration standards a family of hybrid airships designed for heavy lift, economical cargo transport. Aviation Capital will market the hybrid airship to the commercial market, while Lockheed Martin retains rights to the military market.The first variant, called SkyTug (shown here), will be like a super-sized helicopter, only at about one-tenth the cost. SkyTug will have a range of up to 1,000 nautical miles at a cruise speed of sixty knots. It will be used on four- to eight-hour missions to support remote drilling sites or mines where there is no infrastructure for aircraft. The 290-foot-long SkyTug is scheduled to be flown in early 2013. The two airships called for in the initial contract will be built in Palmdale, as will any additional SkyTugs in the future.                                                                Artist concept by Joel Derrick 

Cargo Box Comparison

The second in a family of hybrid airships, called SkyFreighter, is a regional lifter capable of carrying seventy tons of cargo. An airship this size could be an enabler for countries to expand their economies. First flight of a 400-foot-long SkyFreighter is expected to come in 2014. This shot shows a comparison between the SkyFreighter (red box), C-5 Galaxy transport (yellow box), C-17 (blue box), and short fuselage C-130 (green line near the wall). The P-791 hybrid airship demonstrator, now filled only with air instead of helium, is in the background.

Blast from the past...Convair Kingfish.

via Wikipedia...
After cancellation of the B-58B in mid-1959, Convair turned to a completely new design, similar to their earlier entry in name only. The new "Kingfish" design had much in common with the Convair F-106 Delta Dart, using a classic delta wing layout like most of Convair's products. It differed in having two of the J58 engines buried in the rear fuselage, and twin vertical surfaces at the rear. The intakes and exhausts were arranged to reduce radar cross section, and the entire aircraft had the same sort of angular appearance as the later Lockheed F-117. The leading edges of the wings and intakes continued to use pyroceram, while other portions used a variety of materials selected for low radar reflection, including fiberglass. The new engines reduced the cruise speed to Mach 3.2 compared to the "Fish"'s Mach 4.2, but range was increased to about 3,400 nm (6,300 km).
In August 1959 the teams met again to present their latest designs. Lockheed had produced an aircraft similar to the "Kingfish", the A-11, but it was more "conventional" in layout. Although the A-11 had somewhat better performance than "Kingfish", the panel generally preferred Convair's design due to its much lower RCS. Johnson expressed skepticism of Convair's claimed RCS, and complained that they had given up performance to achieve it: "Convair have promised reduced radar cross section on an airplane the size of A-12. They are doing this, in my view, with total disregard for aerodynamics, inlet and afterburner performance."
In the end it was not performance that decided the outcome; during the U-2 project Lockheed had proven its ability to design advanced aircraft in secret, on-time, and under-budget. In contrast, Convair had massive cost overruns with the B-58 and no secure facility similar to the Skunk Works. Lockheed promised to lower the RCS in a modified version of the A-11 known as the A-12, and that sealed the deal. The A-12 entered service with the CIA in the 1960s, and was slightly modified to become the Air Force's SR-71.
Another tantalizing 'what if' we had gone this way airplane...

Lockheed Martin's Paris Air Show Website.

LM has launched their Paris Air Show website here.  Make sure you check it out...well worth it.  But I have a question mixed with a suggestion for them.

LM!  If you know they hate your product and continuously run it down, then why even waste time talking to them?  I don't care who they write for...its just not worth it.  Boycott your haters guys!  And don't be fooled by wolves in sheeps clothing.


Wow.  Either great minds think alike...Lockheed Martin threatened to pull advertising --- something but I noticed that Aviation Week has an article up --- "Face to Face : Lockheed Martin CEO Robert Stevens" big you say????  Oh yeah...much big!  Ya see the byline is by Joe Anselmo...he's a business writer that occasionally graces ARES with a fluff piece on the Chinese...but another name is there that stood out simply because I had never seen it before.  Anthony Velocci, Jr.  He's the freaking Editorial Director for Aviation Week.  Long story short (pure speculation on my part) he was there to ride herd on his writers. I guess someone with a much bigger megaphone than mine has been complaining about biased stories too.

Boxer IFV ...Canadian CCV Contender.


I've become more and more interested in the Canadian competitions for a Tactical Armored Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) and Close Combat Vehicle (CCV).

I plan on trying to cover each and every contender for both programs and today's entry is from Rheinmetall Canada.  The Boxer IFV.  They've changed the profile for the Boxer for this competition.  Instead of stressing simply stressing its modularity they've added the Lancer Turret and made this a formidable war machine with scalable armor.

The "but" in all this is the comparison of the Boxer IFV with the LAV-3 currently in service with Canadian Forces.  This statement from CASR says it all...
The ARTEC Boxer is a joint venture between KMW and Rheinmetall. [1] The apparent scale of the Boxer is deceptive. The turretless Boxer is almost as tall as a LAV III, is a metre longer, and weighs tonnes more empty than fully-loaded LAV III. In other words, the Boxer is a MAV or Medium Armoured Vehicle. That said, in turreted form, the Boxer offers no advance in payload or dismounts over the CF's existing LAV III.
More to come.

Websites to check out.

33rd Fighter Wing due to get 1st F-35 this month!


Officials at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics are days away from sending Eglin Air Force Base its first of 59 Joint Strike Fighters.
“We are very close to delivering the first jet down there and I would say we believe it will happen in the month of June,” said Mike Rein, a spokesman for the company.
The arrival of the first F-35 will start a string of deliveries from this month to September. Six jets are slated for delivery by the end of the fiscal year, Rein said. The base will receive the majority of the jets within the next three years.
“While we’ll still be delivering aircraft to other bases, Eglin will be the primary focus for the coming years,” Rein said.
Since Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates restructured the program last January, Rein said the deliveries are on schedule.
The proposed delivery date when the Draft Executive Summary came out last September was four planes in 2010 and 26 planes in 2011. Instead, the first six aircraft will be bought this year and another six the following year.
The rate of delivery will eventually increase until Eglin receives its 59 aircraft.
Other than test aircraft, Eglin will be the first base to receive F-35s. The jets will be used to train F-35 pilots and maintainers at the 33rd Fighter Wing’s Joint Strike Fighter Training School.
The first pilots who will train on the F-35 will be instructors. Some of them, including Marines, are already stationed at Eglin and are a part of the cadre tasked with forming the curriculum.
Rein said Lockheed and Eglin plan to have events where the public can see the aircraft sometime this year.
Officials at the Pentagon and Eglin said the base is working closely with Lockheed Martin and will announce the jet’s arrival when the date is firmly in place.
The Joint Strike Fighter is the country’s first fifth-generation, multirole fighter.
“This is going to give our armed forces the capability that they’ve never had before and it is going to be a tremendous leap in technology,” Rein said. “We’re quite excited about it.”
The momentum has become unstoppable.  The program has survived its critics and will go into full rate production.

The Haters can pound fish heads and rice...and shut the fuck up...

You lose boys.