How F-22 Raptor and F-35 aircraft developers planned to use Oudo’s Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 with a giant all-round VLST aircraft
Lockheed Martin, the maker of America’s most sophisticated military jet, including the F-35 and F-22 Raptor, has previously attempted to create a sensation in the commercial aviation market by seeking to build a versatile aircraft capable of carrying up to ‘to 950 people. .
In March 1995, Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta merged to form Lockheed Martin. Prior to this merger, Lockheed had built some of the most iconic civilian aircraft in American history, including the widebody L-1011 TriStar.
But the aerospace giant is no longer a leading name in the commercial aviation industry, choosing instead to focus on military equipment and aircraft.
Production of the L-1011 Tristar also ended in 1983. The company, however, published an article in 1996 titled “The Future of Very Large Subsonic Transport Systems” which provides details of the airplane. The paper is now with NASA.
The goal of developing a “Very Large Subsonic Transports”, or VLST, was to outperform the Boeing 747 as a versatile carrier.
In 2005, Airbus also launched the A380. Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems was studying the possibility of building a versatile commercial transport aircraft for passengers, commercial cargo and military nearly 50% larger than the current Lockheed C-5 and Boeing 747, according to the 30-page report.
The report noted that the size and expense of the VLST would prevent it from being a purely military project, citing declining defense funding.
The development of the product had to appeal to a variety of customers. As a result, a successful VLST must meet airlines’ needs for increased passenger and cargo capacity on crowded routes to slot-limited airports, as well as provide cost-effective heavy airlift capabilities to support U.S. military personnel. stationed abroad.
Objectives and cost of the VLST
The VLST may have been used to carry commercial passengers with a minimum seating capacity of 650 and a range of 7,000 to 10,000 miles. Commercial air freight for containerized cargo could potentially be viable in order to facilitate the global manufacture of high value added goods.
It could also have been used as a military airlift capable of transporting modern weapon systems over long distances (7,000-10,000 miles) to reach the theater of operations without the need for foreign bases or in-flight refueling.
The development of such a plane would have cost between 8 and 15 billion dollars. In 2021, that would represent more than $ 14 billion to $ 27 billion. The unit price was estimated to be between $ 200 million and $ 300 million, or between $ 364 and $ 550 million in today’s dollars.
This would have been more than the annual sales of many airlines, and it seemed unlikely that the airline and rental industries could support it nationally.
The VLST developed by Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems would have had a maximum take-off weight of 1.4 million pounds, a length of 262 feet, a cargo variant capable of carrying sixteen 40-foot containers, folding wings with a wingspan of 282 feet (211 feet when folded) and a range of 3,200 nautical miles carrying over 400,000 pounds of payload. The GE90, Rolls-Royce Trent or PW4000 engines would have powered the enormous plane.
Lockheed’s latest attempts
In 2017, Lockheed Martin in partnership with the supersonic jet company Aerion Corp. to develop a new passenger jet capable of traveling at speeds up to Mach 1.4.
The Aerion AS2, a projected supersonic business jet that could cut flight times between New York and London by three hours, was designed to accommodate 12 people. The objective was to allow travel (round trip) between the two financial centers in a single day.
Lockheed Martin, however, chose not to extend its contract with Aerion in 2019. Boeing, on the other hand, made a significant investment in Aerion that same year. The company was closed in 2021 and the project was blocked.
Lockheed Martin is also working on the X-59 QueSST, an experimental aircraft for NASA, the US space agency. Since Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract to create a silent supersonic jet in 2016, the project has made significant progress, Eurasian Times reported.
Commercial jets are currently prohibited from flying at supersonic speeds over land. This is because they would generate sonic booms, which are extraordinarily loud and disruptive sounds caused by shock waves produced by objects flying at supersonic speeds.
If Lockheed Martin is successful, the design could pave the way for supersonic commercial flights, dramatically reducing the time it takes planes to fly long distances.