Lockheed and Airbus join forces for flying gas stations

The F-35 stealth fighter jet tends to dominate headlines when it comes to the goings-on at Lockheed Martin Corp., but a new agreement the world’s largest defense contractor has forged to win business supplying flying gas stations to the military is just as intriguing.

Bethesda-based Lockheed (NYSE: LMT) and European aerospace giant Airbus SE said Tuesday they had signed an agreement to jointly explore opportunities to the meet the growing demand for aerial refueling for U.S. defense customers.

Reliable and modernized aerial refueling will be an essential capability for the U.S. Air Force as the characteristics of 21st century combat continue to evolve. Executives are confident Lockheed’s reputation in systems integration, manufacturing and maintenance, repair and overhaul operations with large airlift and tanker aircraft pairs well with Airbus and its expertise in air refueling.

The companies will explore a range of opportunities, from ways to support critical near-term air-refueling…

Read the full story from the Washington Business Journal.