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08:07 AM, October 5, 2018
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Lockheed Martin, Saudi University to Develop Solar Cells for UAVs
Solar powered drone wing: file photo

Lockheed Martin signed its first international Master Research Agreement with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) yesterday to jointly develop flexible solar cells to be mounted on fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The solar cells project will be their initial collaboration in the field of flexible electronics which will enhance the fixed-wing UAV’s operational endurance and support applications across a variety of sectors, a joint statement given to Saudi media said today.

 “Lockheed Martin is proud to help play a defining role in promoting the Kingdom’s thriving R&D efforts as a committed partner to KAUST,” said Lockheed Martin Chief Technology Officer, Keoki Jackson.

 “One of the goals of this year-long project will be to design, develop, integrate and test flexible and innovative solar cells to optimize the endurance of small UAVs. These could be used in various applications including agricultural productivity, monitoring oceanic environments and more,” said KAUST Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Economic Development, Jean Frechet.

Already KAUST researchers have had some success in developing electronics that are flexible, stretchable and reconfigurable to enable anyone, anywhere to be empowered by information, and have applications that can be use across various industries.

Yesterday’s agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding that was finalized by Lockheed Martin’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Marillyn Hewson, on her visit to KAUST in November 2017, where she also serves on the Board of Trustees.

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