Lockheed Martin targeting Asia for hybrid aircraft

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Lockheed Martin is targeting the Chinese and Asia Pacific markets for its hybrid aircraft, and will establish a base in the region.

The aircraft is operated by Straightline Aviation, and will carry up 20 tonnes of cargo with a range of 1,400 miles with 30 per cent less fuel burn and 80 per cent lower carbon emissions than traditional heavy lift helicopters.

Straightline chairman, Brian Kessler says the aircraft can move freight to remote areas without the need for infrastructure like roads and airports.

He says: “China is a vast country not only comprising large hubs and congested commercial centres but also many remote locations. The Lockheed Hybrid can service main business centres but can also, economically and effectively, move freight to more remote areas, without the need for expensive infrastructure like roads and airports.”

It combines technology from fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and hovercraft and does not need an airport to operate from, and it can land on almost any surface including water, ice or sand.

Straightline has signed a $850 million memorandum of understanding to provide Canadian mining company, Quest Rare Minerals with seven aircraft along with significant expressions of interest from customers and investors in the Asia Pacific region.

Francis Chiew has been appointed managing director – Asia Pacific to spearhead development.