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The Air Force Research Laboratory and Lockheed Martin partnered to complete
approximately 200 hours of wind tunnel tests on a next-generation tanker concept model.

By Melissa Withrow / Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio, April 11, 2006 – The Air Force Research Laboratory and Lockheed Martin partnered to complete approximately 200 hours of wind tunnel tests on a next-generation tanker concept model.

During two weeks of testing at Lockheed Martin’s facilities in Marietta, Ga., engineers collected aerodynamic data showing the effects of placing tanker equipment in various positions on the model.

The team tested this data to obtain a better idea of how changing the equipment’s placement such as on the model’s centerline or in a pod on the wing tip, might affect a future tanker’s lift and drag as well as its compatibility with advanced platforms.

In addition, the engineers conducted several tests in which a receiver model was placed in refueling positions behind the tanker.

Data collected from these tests showed how the aerodynamic flow generated by the tanker affected the receiver.

Engineers will use this information to evaluate design options for the future tanker concept.

These tests were part of a continuing effort to develop options for the Air Force’s next-generation tanker.

See Caption.
Artist’s rendition of future strike tanker concept

The Air Force Research Laboratory is conducting in-house work in conjunction with contract support by Lockheed Martin and Boeing to develop a highly versatile tanker of the future.

The team is exploring existing technology, as well as “outside of the box” thinking to create a tanker that retains its high-lift characteristics while producing a very stable wake.

These capabilities will help the tanker to refuel everything from fighter aircraft to unmanned air vehicles and helicopters.
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Apr. 24, 2014
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