Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Lockheed Martin Owego shows off one of its latest aircrafts, the Desert Hawk III. The company says it's saving lives overseas.
Lockheed Martin is celebrating its Centennial this year.
In December 1912, Allan and Malcolm Lockheed established the Alco Hydro-Aeroplane Company, which later became Lockheed Aircraft Company. The company has been in Owego for 55 years.
On Thursday, Action News got to see a demo of Lockheed Martin Owego's Desert Hawk III Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). Lockheed Martin has developed several variants of UAS's.
The Desert Hawk III is hand-launched. It consists a rugged air vehicle and a lightweight, portable ground station, which provides operator training, flight planning, controls sensors and other tasks.
This variant, the Desert Hawk, is only 8 pounds. There are payloads and sensors on it that can give military personnel visual information of what's happening on the ground. The Desert Hawk III runs off of battery and can fly a 15 kilometer range for 90 minutes. It's made of carbon fiber and kevlar.
"For us, Desert Hawk has performed very well. Our customers have been extremely excited about its capability. We continue to enhance those capabilities so what happens is, the people on the ground are able to gain situational awareness of their surroundings so they can make quick decisions without having to put themselves in harms way," said John Yuhnick, Technical Director for Electronic Product line for Lockheed Martin.
The Desert Hawk III helps in situational awareness, security, target acquisition and battle damage assessment.
So far, 650 of this type of UAS have been shipped overseas since 2007. The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence uses them.
"We definitely feel that it has saved lives and helped the effectiveness of troops overseas," said Yuhnick.
The real-life video captured through the Desert Hawk III can help law enforcement, border patrol, first responders, etc, explained Yuhnick.
Lockheed Martin Owego employs 2,700 people. Its employees are active in volunteer efforts in the community. Employees logged more than 60,000 volunteer hours in 2011. After the September 2011 floods, Lockheed Martin donated $100,000 in supplies and monetary donations.
Dan Spoor, General Manager, says 60 percent of its customer base is through the U.S. Defense Department.
He says 15 percent is international and the company hopes to grow that business in the near future. Spoor says Lockheed Martin his pursuing $7 billion dollars in new business overseas.
Lockheed Martin also does a large business base with the United States Postal Service.
The company has many plans for the future in terms of business both for domestic customers, products, international platforms and non-defense, Spoor says. This includes technology to protect airplanes from threats through classified programs, upgrading cockpits for older Army helicopters and shipping 24 additional MH 60R/S to Australia, among many other projects.