Airbus Military, Lockheed Try Winglets on Airlifters


Winglets are de rigueur on business jets, and becoming ubiquitous on commercial airliners, but still a rarity on military airlifters. Now Airbus Military is flight-testing drag-reducing winglets on its C295 light transport.

Photo: Airbus Military

Boeing's C-17 was designed with winglets, but Airbus's A400M, Alenia's C-27J and Kawasaki's XC-2 do not have them. Neither has Lockheed Martin's C-130, but trial winglets were expected to be flight tested later this year. Lockheed has also looked at winglets for the C-5M.

Concept: Lockheed Martin

Lockheed expects a 4% increase in the C-130's range as a result of fitting the 5ft-tall winglets, which add 5ft to the aircraft's wing span. Airbus expects winglets to improve the C295's hot-and-high runway performance, increase range and endurance, and reduce operating costs.

Airbus began flying a wingletted C295 -- its rotodome-equipped airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aerodynamic testbed -- on Dec. 21. from Seville, Spain. It says data from the flights will provide a basis for a decision on whether to incorporate winglets into the C295 design.

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