It is truly revolutionary – using advanced composites to build a lighter and more durable transport aircraft. Lockheed Martin’s famed Advanced Development Programs, also known as the Skunk Works®, is again reinventing the way we fly.
The United States Air Force Research Laboratory has selected Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works® to build an X-Plane with new materials and structural concepts that could forever change the way we envision and fly aircraft.
Part of this innovative design is the use of super lightweight and super strong composites. The result will be the world’s first Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft. The aircraft’s mid/aft fuselage and empennage will be constructed of advanced composites over 12 months.
The use of composites in aircraft manufacturing will mean lighter, less expensive and more durable aircraft that also are easier to maintain. For example, the Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft manufacturing process will require far fewer parts and will dramatically reduce corrosion and metal fatigue issues.
Once the Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft is proven, these same manufacturing innovations will be applied to other next-generation aircraft including combat aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles being employed by U.S. and allied forces.