The Distant Future of Aerial Tanking?

The Air Force Research Laboratory and Lockheed Martin have completed about 200 hours of wind tunnel testing on a next-generation tanker concept model. Using Lockheed’s Marietta, Ga., facilities, engineers collected some two weeks’ worth of aerodynamic data as they placed “tanker equipment” in various locations—such as on the centerline or as a wing-tip pod—to determine lift and drag and compatibility with advanced platforms. AFRL is collaborating with both Lockheed and Boeing in developing a future concept.