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The research question being posed is, will a new concept in wing design succeed in replacing

aging, proven military cargo and civil passenger aircraft? There are the obvious advantages
like, like increased range and increased payload. Nearly all aircraft are looking for these
advantages. The largest hurdle to overcome is that the aircraft targeted for replacement, the
C-141, KC-10 and KC-135 have been in service for over 30 years with pleasing results.
Provided research continues in a positive direction, and retirement schedules for these aircraft
stay on track, the second quarter of the 21st century will see a change in the face and function
of aviation with an impact as profound as the arrival of the jet engine.
Jason Harvey BA-422
There are few things in the world that are more difficult to do than introduce an idea or
concept that contrasts the paradigm in which a society lives. The aircraft, although advanced in
technology, construction materials and techniques design is relatively unchanged since the
beginning of manned flight. Will an aircraft, that looks different from any other in the sky, be
allowed to replace the aircraft we are all so accustomed seeing in the skies?
Most aircraft in the military transport community are due to retire early in this century. There
are many choices the government has. Replenish the already aging inventory with more
Replacement parts to extend useful life. Upgrade and reengineer the airframe and avionic
systems, to extend the technological life of the platform. Lastly, when cost of
operation becomes too expensive to continue use, replace with a new platform.
Lockheed-Martin Aeronautics Company in conjunction with NASA, have conducted studies to
analyze and evaluate an equal basis comparison of an advanced conventional, box wing and
strut braced wing transport aircraft. The objectives of the study were:

Identify key structural and aerodynamic design features, enabling technologies, and
technological challenges.

Assess the benefits obtained by integration of emerging technologies with structurally

innovative aircraft concepts

Compare these benefits to the benefits obtained from the same technologies applied on
conventional transport aircraft.
Using computer modeling, it was shown that there was application to a wide range of vehicle
sizes. This technology not being restricted to large aircraft could lead to a drastic change in
private civil aviation. Smaller aircraft with an increased range and payload could payoff big by
helping to remove some of the burden that commercial aviation carries.
Using large box wing aircraft as an example, an aircraft with virtually the same dimensions
as a conventional aircraft that has an increased range and capability to carry up to 600
passengers, without the necessity for any changes in existing airport support and infrastructure.
While carrying out the same amount of workload, with fewer missions. Thereby, making great
savings in fuel costs.

Average flight hours for US Air Mobility Command (AMC) are increasing to meet US
commitments for peacekeeping forces and humanitarian relief. This increased operational
tempo is depleting the remaining useful life of the existing US strategic air lifter fleet at a rate far
exceeding that predicted several years ago. The current USAF "Air Mobility Master Plan" calls
for the replacement of the C-141 transport by the year 2006 and retirement of the KC-135
tankers to begin in 2013. These 700+ aircraft, 80% of the current mobility fleet, are now 30 to 35
years old and are experiencing fatigue and corrosion problems leading to low availability rates.
The C-141B represents 35% of the current US strategic airlift capability while the KC-135
comprises 90% of the tanker fleet. Corrosion of the KC-135 fleet may accelerate the retirement
of those aircraft before the currently planned date, leaving a gap in the US airlift and tanker
capability. Reduced procurement budgets will not allow a !
one-for-one replacement of these aircraft, creating a need for a true multi-mission aircraft to
maintain critical tanker and airlift capability.

USAF will only be able to afford 300 aircraft to replace current 600 aircraft tanker fleet.

Reduced fleet requires enhanced refueling productivity.

Tanker replacement issues, Military transport aircraft remain in service much longer
than their commercial counterparts. The extremely long service lives of these military aircraft,
much longer than envisioned when they where designed, has forced the military into a series of
update programs to keep these aircraft compatible with the commercial airways and to replace
obsolete systems. Two examples of this are the KC-135 and KC-10 tanker aircraft.
The KC-135 preceded its close cousin, the Boeing 707, into service in the late 1950's to
become the mainstay of the USAF tanker force. The Boeing 707 entered service in the early
1960's and is now reaching the end of its commercial life as the century ends. However, the
KC-135 will continue in service until about 2030 according to current USAF plans. The USAF
has funded an extensive re-engining program since the 1980's and is now supporting a major
aircraft systems upgrade to keep the KC-135 a viable tanker platform.
The KC-10 was purchased in the 1980's as an off-the-shelf tanker version of the McDonnell
Douglas DC-10 airliner. One advantage of the KC-10 was that it shared a common maintenance
and logistics system with the airlines, thus reducing the cost of ownership for the USAF. The
DC-10 has now been out of production for over ten years, with airline and cargo service
anticipated to end sometime around 2010. The small fleet of 50+ KC-10s will continue in service
until 2040 with increasing support costs due to the elimination of the commercial maintenance
support base. The USAF will be forced into costly update programs, as for the KC-135, to
maintain the KC-10 as a viable mobility platform.
If the USAF opts for a derivative of a commercial transport for the upcoming KC-X program, it
will find that the existing candidate airliners were designed in the late 1970's and early 1980's,
making these designs over 30 years old by the time the KC-X procurement starts in 2012. Given
a projected service life for KC-X of 50-70 years, these airliners will be completely obsolete and
out of commercial service early in the service life of the KC-X. The loss of the commercial
support base will greatly increase support costs and necessitate costly upgrade programs much
earlier than for previous tankers.

Lockheed Martin believes that the future KC-X needs to have state-of-the-art technology at its
introduction and be designed from the outset for low cost upgrade programs throughout its
service life. The concepts developed under the Advanced Mobility Aircraft program embrace this
philosophy to reduce total ownership costs and to provide the highest capability mobility
platform to the USAF.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Advanced Design engineers have studied more than
40 aircraft concepts since the initiation of the AMA project in 1994. Concepts studied to date

Box Wing aircraft with two refueling booms

Current effort is focused on the box wing configuration and the operational advantages of a
tanker aircraft with two refueling booms. Given that the USAF will not replace its current tankers
on a one-for-one basis, planners will face a "boom intensive environment" in future conflicts. A
twin boom aircraft can provide the USAF with the same number of available refueling booms,
but at half the number of aircraft with the resulting savings in procurement and operational
Beginning on March 7, 1997, LM Aero flew a scale model of a joined wing tanker/transport
concept. With 18 test flights completed, the model exhibited excellent flight characteristics, and
the tests met and exceeded all objectives.
Design and construction of the 6.5 foot span remote control model was initiated by the LM Aero
Advanced Design Department in late 1996 to demonstrate the basic airworthiness and
controllability of the joined wing configuration. The model features multiple control surfaces and
capability to quickly test alternate control system set-ups. A larger test was scheduled for
sometime in 2000, however no information is available as of yet.
A conventional high wing military transport configuration, updated to the latest technology,
provides a low risk, but highly capable multi-role tanker / transport. This concept can meet all
current air refueling requirements while maintaining full capability for strategic airlift. Using a
modular design philosophy, a family of next generation transport aircraft can be designed and
manufactured to meet both the strategic and in-theater support roles. The primary mission of the
KC-X concept is the strategic tanker mission using a fuselage mounted flying boom and multipoint hose/drogue systems. As a strategic air lifter, the concept can deliver over-sized military
equipment while providing performance comparable to modern commercial airliners. The
modular medium transport concept uses major structural and system components from the KCX to reduce life cycle cost. The medium transport is designed to deliver over-sized military cargo
into bare bases while providing flight perfor!
mance comparable to commercial transports. The concept is fully airdrop capable and can
operate from short, soft soil fields at reduced take-off weights. The revolutionary box wing
concept is the current focus of the advanced concept development work at Lockheed Martin
Aeronautics Company. Given that the USAF will not replace its current tankers on a one-forone basis, planners will face a boom intensive environment in future conflicts. A box wing
configuration provides the operational advantage of multi-point / multi-boom refueling with a
reduced aircraft size and advanced aerodynamics. A twin boom aircraft can provide the USAF

with the same number of refueling booms, but at half the number of aircraft. The box wing
tanker would also be equipped with two drogue-refueling systems for inter-service and
international operations. This allows a single aircraft to refuel two receptacle equipped aircraft,
two probe equipped aircraft, or one receptacle and one probe equipped airc!
raft simultaneously. The box wing tanker still retains a full cargo capability including roll-on/rolloff loading of vehicles, equipment, and ISO containers. Another revolutionary concept studied at
LM Aero is the blended wing-body transport. A configuration where the wing and fuselage are
blended together into one structural component is attractive for future tanker/transport aircraft.
The blended wing-body configuration provides generous internal volume for fuel and cargo, but
with reduced structural weight. The concept can, like the box wing, employ multi-point refueling
and by the nature of its basic shape, can be easily modified to meet low observable
In military use, AMA will be able to perform airlift and tanker missions through the use of
integrated modular tanker systems. This will allow the use of one airframe, with the resulting
logistics and operational advantages, to fulfill AMC airlift, airdrop, and air refueling missions. In
the airlift role, the AMA can carry all the equipment of the Army's light divisions over a 4,000 NM
range. The aircraft can airdrop more than 150 paratroops or two 60,000 pound airdrop loads.
For tanker missions, the aircraft can exceed the fuel offload of the KC-135R while retaining its
basic airlift capability.
The aircraft will also be an effective member of USAF Air Expeditionary Forces (AEFs) by
providing strategic lift for deployments, tanker support in theater, and as a multi-mission aircraft
for other AEF requirements. Modular airframe and systems design will allow low cost
development of derivative vehicles for a variety of missions including reconnaissance and
surveillance, electronic combat, rescue, special operations, global attack with future long-range
stand-off weapons, and as a 'mother-ship' for advanced UAVs.
In the commercial market, the globalization of trade, involving "Just-In-Time" (JIT) delivery, is
one of the main drivers for expanded air cargo services. Most existing air freighters are modified
passenger aircraft, usually converted when they reach mid-life. These freighters, due to their
cabins designed for passenger use, do not efficiently carry containerized cargo and cannot
handle most oversize industrial equipment and vehicles. Also, more than two-thirds of the world
air freighter fleet (approximately 900 aircraft) is over 20 years old, with most not meeting
current, or projected noise and emissions standards. The retirement of these freighters,
combined with the projected doubling of cargo revenue ton miles (RTMs), means that a
significant market may emerge in the next decade for a new long range commercial cargo
aircraft with enhanced ease of loading for containers and equipment.
New operational issues are also reshaping the requirement for 21st century mobility aircraft.
The formation of Air Expeditionary Forces (AEFs), with their own airlift and tanker support, will
require a true multi-role aircraft. The downsizing of bases and loss of over-flight privileges will
require aircraft with global range, but with high cruise speeds to minimize response times and
crew fatigue during long-range missions. The proliferation of high technology threats, such as
shoulder launched SAMs. Will require mobility aircraft with improved survivability when
operating in third world areas.

The end of the Cold War is reshaping military planning and mobility requirements for the US
military and foreign military services. Rather than reducing the need for strategic airlift, the end
of the Cold War has brought increased use of military strategic airlift. The threat of a major
European war has been replaced by numerous regional conflicts and civil wars requiring
multiple simultaneous deployments and support operations. In addition, the proliferation of high
technology weapons in the post Cold War world has greatly increased the threat to mobility
aircraft as they carry out these missions.
There is no question that can be answered easier than one backed by clear hard data.
This is something which can be easily swayed by opinion. Barring the decision of the USAF to
continue service of its already aging fleet of transport and cargo aircraft, it is the opinion of the
author of this paper that a revolutionary change in aviation is not only needed but overdue. It is
also my opinion that the military, main target of this study will probably not risk the initial full
scale trials of a new aircraft design. This jump will probably be left to civil aviation.
Air mobility command. Home page. Nov 22 2001.c-141 info https://
Air mobility command. Home page. Nov 22 2001. KC-10 info. https://
Air mobility command. Home page. Nov 22 2001. KC-135 info.
Kirk, Stephen J.; Dell'Isola, Alphonse J., Life Cycle Costing for Design Professionals. New York:
McGraw-Hill, 1995.
Lockheed-Martin Aero. Home page. Dec 01 2001.

Air mobility command. Home page. Nov 22 2001.c-141 info
Air mobility command. Home page. Nov 22 2001. KC-10 info. https://
Air mobility command. Home page. Nov 22 2001. KC-135 info.
Kirk, Stephen J.; Dell'Isola, Alphonse J., Life Cycle Costing for Design Professionals. New York:
McGraw-Hill, 1995.
Lockheed-Martin Aero. Home page. Dec 01 2001.