Lockheed Martin (LMT), a prominent defense manufacturer, announced on Wednesday its latest investment in REGENT, a cutting-edge electric seaplane manufacturer, to facilitate its use in defense scenarios. Despite achieving over $66 billion in sales in 2022, Lockheed Martin still maintains its position as one of the top defense manufacturers in the United States. Recognized for producing some of the most sophisticated and lethal defense technologies such as the F-35 Fighter Jet, Lockheed Martin aims to update and optimize its operations to stay competitive in the coming years.
The current major trend is the adoption of fully electric technology, which offers greater power while lowering operating costs. In January of last year, Lockheed Martin Ventures invested in Electra’s Series A fundraising campaign. Electra is developing a hybrid electric eSTOL aircraft capable of transporting nine passengers, two pilots, and 50 pounds of baggage per person over a distance of more than 400 nautical miles. The aircraft can also take off in just 300 feet, which is especially significant. Lockheed Martin is now delving further into electric technology by investing in REGENT, an electric seaplane manufacturer, through its venture division. REGENT creates and produces all-electric seaplanes for fast, efficient, and emissions-free travel.
To date, the company has sold over 400 sea gliders to customers worldwide and has received more than $7.9 billion in orders for its 12-passenger sea glider, Viceroy. Lockheed Martin plans to utilize electric seaplanes to “accelerate the development of sea gliders for defense missions,” according to the company.
Using in-defense strategies
REGENT’s all-electric, zero-emission sea gliders combine the maximum speed of an airplane with the low operating cost of a boat with the ability to carry people and goods (3,500 lbs payload) quickly up to 180 miles at 180 miles per hour. CEO of REGENT, Billy Thalheimer, explains, “We see defense strategy evolving toward an island-hopping force featuring agile, affordable, and distributed craft.” He added the investment shows EV sea gliders can fill the immediate need for high-priority missions within the Department of Defense. VP and general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures, Chris Morgan, explains, “We believe that REGENT sea gliders can bring tailored solutions to the future battlespace.”
According to REGENT, the electric sea gliders will have a 65-foot wing span and will be powered by eight redundant electric motors, which will provide a total output of 120 kW. REGENT has stated that the electric seaplane is expected to be operational by 2025, and full-scale prototypes will commence sea trials by the end of this year.