Lockheed Martin & Goodyear Develop Intelligent Tires for Joint Strike Fighter
1 April 1999Lockheed Martin & Goodyear Develop Intelligent Tires for Joint Strike Fighter
FORT WORTH, Texas, April 1 -- Through the efforts of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems, U.S. and British military aircraft are getting a little smarter. Goodyear is producing and supplying prototype "Intelligent Tires" for Lockheed Martin's Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, the next-generation multirole, multiservice fighter for the 21st century. A transponder is embedded in the rubber of the tire. The transponder includes both an integrated circuit and a capacitive pressure sensor, the sensor being a microelectromechanical -- or MEMS -- device. It is designed to enable better prognostics and health management of key Lockheed Martin JSF systems. The MEMS device monitors essential information to facilitate improved operation of the aircraft. In the JSF, for example, the transponder can sense and transmit tire inflation pressure and temperature, and track a unique tire serial number that will help monitor the tire from cradle to grave. Inflation monitoring is critical to optimizing tire performance and preventing tire damage or failure during numerous takeoffs and landings. Intelligent tires reduce the effort required to check inflation and thus make this operation safer. They also extend the life of the tire through better management. In addition, monitoring tire temperature can show if there are potential mechanical problems with the wheels or brakes. "The potential labor savings with intelligent tires can result in less maintenance and support costs, which in turn can lead to greater affordability over the life of the plane," said David Francis, MEMS program manager for Lockheed Martin. "And since affordability is so critical to winning the JSF, we welcome the opportunity to apply new and promising technology that will help us reach that goal." Tom Walker, Goodyear's general manager for aviation products worldwide, agrees. "We are obviously pleased to be a part of this program, implementing Goodyear's innovative technology in an environment where there are great benefits to the end-user," Walker said. "Our development work continues as we progress toward eventually implementing this technology in commercial applications as well." Intelligent tire technology dates back to the early 1990s, including widespread testing for use in commercial truck tires. In 1995, DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Products Agency) sponsored a project with Goodyear where prototype aircraft tires were included in the DARPA statement of work. The JSF is being developed for three U.S. services and the U.K. Royal Navy. Lockheed Martin received one of two JSF concept demonstration contracts awarded by the Department of Defense in November 1996. Lockheed Martin's JSF team includes Northrop Grumman and British Aerospace. Flight evaluation of the demonstrator aircraft is scheduled to take place in 2000. Government selection of a contractor for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase is scheduled to occur in 2001. Goodyear manufactures a wide variety of aviation tires to meet the needs of both commercial airlines and private pilots, and its tires appear as original equipment on all types of private, commercial and military aircraft. For more information about Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems and its products, visit the following website: http://www.TheFighterEnterprise.com. For more information about The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and its products, visit the following website: http://www.goodyear.com.