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  • Phantoms and Skunks, Living Together
    Posted by Bill Sweetman 5:05 PM on Jul 15, 2008

    No formal agreement yet, but Boeing and Lockheed Martin - partners in a study of the USAF's next bomber - are also talking about joining forces on the USAF/Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Blackswift hypersonic demonstrator project.

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    "Cappuccio [Frank, Skunk Works leader] and I have had discussions," says Boeing Advanced Systems president Darryl Davis in a Farnborough interview. "Lockheed Martin has done a good job of getting it started. 'Partners' might be too strong a word, but we have talked about participation." Davis points out that Boeing is leading the DARPA HyFly and USAF X-51 scramjet demonstrations and has proposed hypersonic demonstrators to NASA in the past.

    Bomber studies are going well. "We're in the process of determining what each company would bring to the project. We're waiting for the USAF to tell us what they want to do. So far they've told us that 2018 is the end date, but they have not defined the start date. But if 2018 is the date, then the technology you use had better be close to TRL [technology readiness level] 6 or 7.

    "We're looking at TRLs," says Davis, "and also at manufacturability. Can you do it cost-efficiently?"


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    At the same time, though, Boeing and Lockheed Martin are likely to be competitors on the F/A-XX, the notional replacement for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Davis and other Boeing executives depict F/A-XX as a next-generation stealth design, with a long range and large payload.

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    pix; Boeing, Lockheed Martin

    Tags: ar99, farnblog, boeing, lockheed martin, blackswift

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