Americanmachinist 4278 Lockheedhighspeedwindtunnel 0

Lockheed Buys 'Polysonic' Wind Tunnel, Will Update

March 30, 2015
Texas landmark is one of two locations capable of hosting critical research testing for rockets, missiles, launch systems HSWT in use since 1958 Supports programs for NASA, DARPA, more New air compressor, data system, other updates

Lockheed Martin acquired a Texas wind tunnel and plans improvements to the facility, which it has used for decades to test aeronautic conditions on its designs and systems. The High Speed Wind Tunnel (HSWT) in Grand Prairie, Texas, has been used for subsonic, transonic and supersonic research testing and development since 1958.

The cost and other terms of the purchase from Triumph Aerostructures were not announced.

The HSWT in Grand Prairie, Tex., is one of just two locations in the U.S. capable of hosting “polysonic” (i.e., subsonic, transonic, and supersonic) research testing.

Products developed at the HSWT include the Multiple Launch Rocket System, the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System, the Army Tactical Missile System, PAC-3, PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement, the A-7 Corsair II and the Space Shuttle.

The HSWT has supported programs for NASA, the Missile Defense Agency, the Office of Naval Research, DARPA and numerous U.S. aerospace companies.

Lockheed has leased the HSWT prior to now, but purchasing it will allow the OEM to invest in it and schedule future use, including testing by other companies and government agencies.

"The High Speed Wind Tunnel in Grand Prairie is an aerospace engineering treasure, serving as a proving ground for hundreds of flight vehicles designed over the last six decades for everything from space exploration to national defense," stated HSWT manager Mike McWithey. "We made this purchase to ensure that development legacy extends well into the future."

Lockheed plans to install a new air-compressor system that it estimates will reduce operating costs significantly. It also will update the HSWT’s data-acquisition system, and carryout other improvements to the HSWT’s utility systems.

The schedule of the improvement program was not announced.

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