Lockheed Works Composite Cargo X-Plane

The Air Force Research Lab has given the green light to Lockheed Martin to build and demonstrate an X-plane that exhibits “innovative structural configurations and concepts to include advanced prototyping and composite technologies,” according to a company release. The venture is Phase II of AFRL’s Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft program. Within 12 months, Lockheed’s Skunk Works expects to replace the mid/aft fuselage and empennage of a Dornier 328J aircraft with advanced composites. Frank Mauro, vice president, Advanced Systems Development at the Skunk Works, said the ACCA program is “an important opportunity to forever change the way composites are used in aircraft manufacturing, leading to lighter, less expensive, more durable aircraft that are easier to maintain.” AFRL plans to try to arrange a collaborative effort between Lockheed and the other ACCA participant, Aurora Flight Sciences.