Refueling is very important if an airplane need to stay in the air longer and this has been done for many years, however, how efficient this process is can make a difference. Lockheed Martin has stated that they are working on a new concept that of a wing-body tanker aircraft for refueling fighter jets such as the F-22 and the F-35. This concept was displayed at the AIAA SciTech forum. Wind-tunnel testing has already started by Lockheed martin on a much smaller model to test for more aerodynamic solutions, also engineers are using this data for the actual design of the Hybrid Wing Body (HWB). Data is also going to be used for a potential tanker program with a similar body design. Having a stealth refueling jet is very important because without having one it might give away the position of a stealthy aircraft.
The U.S Air Force Air Mobility have stated that this program is intended for the next generation tanker aircraft that can fly in unsafe and unprotected air space to give support to fighter stealth jets such as the F-22 and the F-35. This project is designed to take affect by the year 2035 which is a significant amount of time but not significant enough for the scale of this project. Pilots for the past decade have been flying freely in the skies of Iraq and Afghanistan but such countries are not a threat for the air forces. Having said that, developed countries might have a much more sophisticated and developed anti-aircraft weapons that can be of danger, this is why developing a next generation stealth program is very important for the U.S.
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