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Tamarack Aerospace Group pitches winglets for C-130

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Tamarack Aerospace Group is offering to work with Lockheed Martin to equip the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) fleet of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft with its ATLAS active winglets which, the company claims, reduce fuel consumption at the same time as extending the service life of the wing.

The Idaho-based based company is looking to present its technology to Lockheed Martin in the hope of launching a collaborative effort to help solve the fuel reduction mandates required by the USAF, IHS Jane’s was told.

“We have confidence in our models that we can give the C-130 a 10% improvement in fuel savings. Other benefits include an extension of the wing life, better hot and high performance, a potential to increase gross weight and maximum zero fuel weights, slower stall speeds, and shorter landing and take-off requirements,” company spokesperson Bill Mitchell said on 26 September.

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Tamarack Aerospace Group’s interest in a potential collaboration with Lockheed Martin stems from the news earlier in the year that the USAF had commenced winglet trials with its MC-130J Commando II special mission aircraft. Engineers from the 413th Flight Test Squadron modified an MC-130J with winglets in April as part of a trial to ascertain possible fuel efficiencies Martin in accordance with contracted research and design (CRAD) funding granted by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in September 2014. Eight test sorties of the winglet-equipped MC-130J were flown out of at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, though the findings have not been disclosed.

According to Mitchell, the winglets developed by Tamarack Aerospace Group differ from those developed elsewhere to reduce wing loading also, and thereby increase the wing’s service life. “We have patented a load alleviation device that ‘aerodynamically turns off the winglets’ during those rare moments when ‘g’ forces are high. The system is constantly monitoring and predicting gusts and/or manoeuvres, and ‘positions’ the Tamarack Active Camber Surface (TACS) as necessary to eliminate the additional loads that a static winglet would normally affect.

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