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Lockheed Martin & Goodyear Develop Intelligent Tires for Joint Strike Fighter

1 April 1999

Lockheed 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
    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:
    For more information about The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and its
products, visit the following website: