Lock­heed Martin to in­vest more in hy­per­sonic air­craft: CEO

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

WASH­ING­TON: Lock­heed Martin Corp (LMT.N) will con­tinue to in­vest in tech­nol­ogy to de­velop hy­per­sonic air­craft that can re­spond to se­cu­rity threats much more quickly than cur­rent fighter jets, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Mar­il­lyn Hew­son said on Tues­day.

Speak­ing to re­porters at the Lock­heed's an­nual me­dia day, Hew­son said the com­pany had al­ready made progress on hy­per­sonic pro­grams and was pro­duc­ing an "aero­dy­namic con­fig­u­ra­tion" which could reach Mach 6, or six times the speed of sound.The U.S. De­fense Depart­ment has said it wants to build what it calls a "prompt global strike" ca­pa­bil­ity that would en­able it to hit tar­gets world­wide within an hour with con­ven­tional or nu­clear war­heads.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished by the Mitchell In­sti­tute for Aero­space Stud­ies ear­lier this year, hy­per­son­ics had the po­ten­tial to rev­o­lu­tion­ize the mil­i­tary much like stealth fight­ers did a gen­er­a­tion ago. "By fun­da­men­tally re­defin­ing the tech­ni­cal means of power pro­jec­tion, the U.S. can cir­cum­vent chal­lenges fac­ing the present force," the re­port said.

Hew­son said that Lock­heed could de­velop and build a hy­per­sonic demon­stra­tor air­craft the size of a F-22 stealth fighter for less than $1 bil­lion. Or­lando Car­valho, who heads Lock­heed's Aero­nau­tics divi­sion, said the govern­ment's cur­rent plan was to pro­duce a hy­per­sonic weapon and field that be­fore mov­ing to de­velop and field a hy­per­sonic air­craft.

In 2013, Lock­heed un­veiled plans for a hy­per­sonic spy plane called the SR-72 that could fly at Mach 6, twice as fast as its famed SR-71 Black­bird, and said a mis­sile demon­strat­ing the new tech­nol­ogy could fly as early as 2018. Car­valho said the United States could re­al­is­ti­cally cre­ate a hy­per­sonic weapon in the 2020s, but it would likely take un­til the 2030s to pro­duce a hy­per­sonic air­craft like the SR-72.

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