Marillyn A. Hewson, 2018 Edison Achievement Award Honoree and Chairman, President & CEO, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and members of her executive team addressed last week’s Edison Awards audience on the topic of Visions of the Future: Innovating with Purpose.
Before looking toward the future of aviation, the CEO cited Lockheed Martin’s performance momentum as established by the creation of industry-leading air advances such as Lockheed’s U-2 reconnaissance spy craft (nicknamed the “Dragon Lady”), the F-117 Nighthawk, and the newest Super Hercules aircraft—the C-130J-SOF—a true force multiplier designed to support international Special Operations Forces.
Lockheed Martin has partnered with NASA to develop a plane that will fly at supersonic speeds without producing a disruptive sonic boom, which would enable it to fly from New York to London in three hours.
Always looking to the future, Hewson emphasized the importance of the constant balance of delivering goods to clients while also innovating and self-disrupting, stressing the need to stay digitally aware in today’s rapidly evolving landscape of artificial intelligence and robotics. “We must encourage people to pursue education and careers in STEM, as well as partner with governments and business communities to encourage creation of that pipeline,” Hewson stated.
Jeff Wilcox, Vice President for Engineering and Program Operations, Lockheed Martin added that the aerospace defense industry has pushed the boundaries of the space frontier which allowed the commercial market to explore those developments, including work Lockheed is doing with exoskeletons, material science, robotics, and human-machine interaction.
The rapid pace of technological advancement was addressed by Rick Ambrose, Executive Vice President, Space, Lockheed Martin. He noted, “The titanium tanks produced for satellites used to take three years to produce; now they are done in two months.” At the same time, the faster technology developments also create challenges. “Our [satellite] customers are struggling because technology is moving so fast. For example, how do you continually reprogram the software in satellites [to keep them current]?”
“Cyber domain is the fifth rapidly-expanding domain that we all have to deal with now,” added Dale Bennett, Executive Vice President, Rotary & Mission Systems, Lockheed Martin. Regarding space, he said, “If we want to open up space, we have to solve the access to space.”
Discussing future developments, Bennett continued, “Due to physics, there is an aerodynamic limit regarding how fast a helicopter can fly. Lockheed’s X2 technology pushes that limit for a much faster helicopter.” In addition, Lockheed is honing its laser technology to focus a laser onto a moving target from a moving platform. He concluded by noting that, “For our customers, failure is not an option. For example, fighter planes have to work perfectly all the time.”
About Lockheed Martin: Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 97,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
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