Industry partners join to develop hybrid aircraft
March 22, 2011, Calgary - Aviation Capital Enterprises, Inc. (Aviation Capital), an Alberta-based private company, has entered into an exclusive contractual agreement with Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) to design, develop, build, flight test and Federal Aviation Administration certify a family of hybrid aircraft.
Hybrid aircraft are ideally suited for heavy lift cargo transport, domestic disaster relief and international humanitarian resupply. The aircraft requires little or no fixed ground infrastructure and can launch, land and be serviced on unimproved surfaces and water using its innovative air cushion landing system. It taxis, launches and recovers like a conventional aircraft.
Aviation Capital and its investors will make the hybrid aircraft available to the commercial market. Lockheed Martin will retain rights to the military market. Three variants of the hybrid aircraft ranging in size from 20 tons to several hundred tons will be developed to open transportation pathways to austere locations currently inaccessible to other modes of transport. Delivery of the first experimentally certified Hybrid Aircraft variant is expected in 2012.
The technologies required for the Hybrid Aircraft are mature and have been demonstrated in-flight in Lockheed Martin's P-791, a fully functional manned flight demonstrator. Work is currently underway on the 20 ton variant, called SkyTug, at the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics facility in Palmdale, Calif.