Lockheed Martin has acquired a high-speed wind tunnel (HSWT), which is said to be the only one of its kind in the US.

The company has been using the HSWT in Grand Prairie, Texas, for subsonic, transonic and supersonic research and development testing.

The other polysonic adjustable Mach-number wind tunnel is located in Missouri.

Lockheed Martin said it has leased the Marshall Street plant in Grand Prairie from Triumph Aerostructures.

The HSWT will allow Lockheed Martin to facilitate upgrades, as well as manage scheduling, including testing by other companies and government agencies.

"The company intends to upgrade the HSWT with a new air compressor system to reduce operating costs."

Lockheed Martin HSWT manager Mike McWithey said: "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 defence.

"We made this purchase to ensure that development legacy extends well into the future."

The company intends to upgrade the HSWT with a new air compressor system, an updated data acquisition system and revamped utilities, to reduce operating costs.

The HSWT produces various products, including the multiple launch rocket system, the guided multiple launch rocket system, army tactical missile system, PAC-3, PAC-3 missile segment enhancement, the A-7 Corsair II and the Space Shuttle.

The facility primarily serves programmes for Nasa, the Missile Defense Agency, the Office of Naval Research, DARPA and other aerospace companies in the US.

Image: A RATTLRS cruise-missile inlet under testing at the high-speed wind tunnel. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.