PACT FOR PILOTLESS BOMBER LOCKHEED MARTIN TO EXAMINE DESIGNS.Byline: Jim Skeen Staff Writer
PALMDALE - Lockheed Martin For the former company, see .
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is a leading multinational aerospace manufacturer and advanced technology company formed in 1995 by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta. Aeronautics Company-Palmdale was awarded a contract for more than $1.2 million to examine designs and identify technologies needed for a pilotless, hypersonic hy·per·son·ic
Of, relating to, or capable of speed equal to or exceeding five times the speed of sound.
hy bomber capable of striking targets anywhere in the world in less than two hours.
Lockheed Martin was one of three companies awarded contracts under a joint Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), U.S. government agency administered by the Department of Defense (see Defense, United States Department of). and Air Force program called Force Application and Launch from the Continental U.S., or FALCON for short.
The ultimate goal of the program is to develop an aircraft capable of flying at least 3,500 mph - more than 1,000 mph faster than the current record holder - and able to carry 12,000 pounds of cruise missiles or small-diameter bombs.
``This capability would free the U.S. military from reliance on forward basing to enable it to react promptly and decisively to destabilizing or threatening actions by hostile countries and terrorist organizations,'' according to a DARPA DARPA: see Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
(Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) The name given to the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency during the 1980s. It was later renamed back to ARPA. contract solicitation.
The contract involves work on three vehicles - the hypersonic aircraft, a smaller unmanned craft called the common aero vehicle, and the enhanced common aero vehicle.
The common aero vehicle would be an unpowered Adj. 1. unpowered - not having or using power; "an autogiro is supported in flight by unpowered rotating wings"
powered - (often used in combination) having or using or propelled by means of power or power of a specified kind; "powered flight"; "kerosine-powered , maneuverable, hypersonic glider capable of carrying approximately 1,000 pounds of munitions mu·ni·tion
War materiel, especially weapons and ammunition. Often used in the plural.
tr.v. mu·ni·tioned, mu·ni·tion·ing, mu·ni·tions
To supply with munitions. , with a range of approximately 3,000 miles.
Ultimately, the unmanned craft could be launched from the hypersonic vehicle, but defense officials are looking to develop a relatively inexpensive launch system so it could go into service sooner - perhaps by 2010.
The enhanced common aero vehicle would be a more advanced design of the common aero vehicle and would have greater range and improved maneuverability.
Also awarded contracts were Andrews Space Inc., a Seattle-based company, and Northrop Grumman's Air Combat Systems unit, based in El Segundo. A fourth contract is being considered, defense officials said.
Defense officials are also looking to use the same technologies developed in the hypersonic bomber program for launching small satellites into space. DARPA and the Air Force awarded nine contracts ranging from $350,000 to $540,000 to develop what they call the small launch vehicle or SLV SLV
standard launch vehicle .
The SLV would be capable of placing a small satellite or other payload weighing approximately 1,000 pounds into a low Earth orbit (communications) low earth orbit - (LEO) The kind of orbit used by communications satellites that will offer high bandwidth for video on demand, television, and Internet communications. at a total launch cost of less than $5 million. Defense officials hope it will be ready by 2010.
Jim Skeen, (661) 267-5743