LOCKHEED MARTIN CO. MAY LICENSE PROCESS

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Lockheed Martin Co. said it may license a cure-form process that fabricates polymer-matrix-composite structures faster than other processes and eliminates matched dies or complex tooling.

Using the process, the firm made a horizontal tail root rib that earned its way onto the F-16 fighter in 1995, said inventor Lee McKague, senior engineering specialist with Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems in Fort Worth, Texas. Unidirectional graphite and epoxy form the rib, made previously with a hand-layup process.

In other uses, Lockheed Martin fabricated a fuselage bulkhead for the Joint Strike Fighter competition, and composite hat stiffeners for a reusable-launch-vehicle.