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Lockheed Martin to Develop DARPA's Stratospheric Airship Material

09 October 2006

Lockheed Martin has received a contract for approximately $10 million to further develop advanced composites 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 a 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 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.”