The Missile Defense Agency
today awarded Lockheed Martin a $40 million design and risk
reduction contract as the next phase of the advanced technology concept
demonstration to deliver a high altitude airship (HAA) prototype in 2006. The
prototype airship will be about 500 feet long, 160 feet in diameter and have a
volume of 5.2 million cubic feet, about 25 times larger than the blimps seen
at athletic events.

“We share the Missile Defense Agency’s vision for the high altitude
airship and the many roles it can serve over our domestic borders and distant
theaters of operation,” said Al Barber, vice president and general manager at
Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors’ (MS2) facilities in Akron. “Its
long time on station and ability to carry different payloads will provide
multimission capabilities not possible with other assets. When launched, the
HAA will commence a new era in flight.”

Lockheed Martin previously received one of three $2 million Missile
Defense Agency contracts for HAA preliminary concept work. The Missile
Defense Agency’s performance goals for the prototype HAA that Lockheed Martin
will develop include sustained operations for one month at 65,000 feet while
providing 10 kilowatts of power to a 4,000-pound payload. Additionally, the
HAA prototype will demonstrate station-keeping and autonomous flight control

Work will be performed at Lockheed Martin’s facilities in Akron. Its
existing airship factory, called the Airdock, is 1,175 feet long, 325 feet
wide and 211 feet high.

Lockheed Martin assembled a team of industry leaders in autonomous control
systems, regenerative power systems, envelope material and systems integration
to develop its HAA solution. Team members include Lockheed Martin business
units in California, Colorado, Maryland and Virginia, and StratCom
International LLC, Keedysville, MD.

The City of Akron, Summit County Port Authority and the State of Ohio
added letters of support to the winning proposal, identifying economic
development considerations and infrastructure improvements at the Akron-Fulton
Municipal Airport.

“Akron, Summit County and Ohio have embraced this opportunity, which will
strengthen the city’s economic base and build upon the region’s identification
as the leader in lighter-than-air and polymer technology creation,” said Akron
Mayor Donald L. Plusquellic.

“The City of Akron, Summit County Port Authority, and the state of Ohio
are important collaborators on the High Altitude Airship program,” Barber
said. “The improvements this public-private consortium has outlined for the
airport’s infrastructure and the potential economic development considerations
are as important to a successful takeoff of the airship as are the
technological advancements our industrial team will make.”

Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Lockheed Martin employs about 125,000
people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design,
development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems,
products and services.

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