Lockheed picks two sites for LMXT production
Prime contractor Lockheed Martin intends to build its LMXT strategic tanker in two phases — firstly with Airbus in Mobile, Alabama and then at its facility in Marietta, Georgia —if the Airbus-derived aircraft emerges as the successful candidate in the KC-Y programme for the USAF.
Introduced in September 2021, the LMXT is based on the A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport design as a result of a 2018 Memorandum of Agreement between Airbus and Lockheed Martin.
The LMXT aircraft for the KC-Y programme is intended to bridge aerial refuelling capacity shortfalls resulting from the problem-plagued KC-46A Pegasus programme. Shephard Defence Insight describes a KC-Y requirement for 179 aircraft at a cost of around $30 billion.
Lockheed Martin claimed in a 1 February announcement that the LMXT will include ‘significantly improved range and fuel offload capacity over current tankers’ and ‘distinct US Air Force-only capabilities’.
Among these capabilities are the world's first fully automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R) boom system; an ‘operational and combat-proven’ advanced camera and rear vision system; open-architecture Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) systems; and a multi-domain operations node that connects the LMXT to the larger battlespace, increasing onboard situational awareness to provide resilient communications and data link for assets across the force.
Lockheed Martin chairman, President, and CEO James Taiclet claimed: ‘The LMXT will strengthen global security by enabling our US service members to carry out their most critical missions at extended ranges.’
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