Lockheed Martin [LMT] announced a $5.6 million deal to potentially utilize Canadian smart materials and photonics company Metamaterial Technologies Inc.’s (MTI) ultra-lightweight solar technology for its fleet of C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.

The deal will give Lockheed access to MTI’s in-development patented metaSOLAR technology, which is designed to collect, trap and absorb solar light from all directions allowing for improved efficiency in harnessing energy. The metaSOLAR technology is particularly suitable for use on aircraft.

 A U.S. Air Force Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules aircraft. Photo: U.S. Air Force.
A U.S. Air Force Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules aircraft. Photo: U.S. Air Force.

Lockheed specified that the contract was signed as an Investment Framework Agreement to meet the commitments of Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy, which was instituted to ensure that defense and security contracts are certified to better leverage job and economic growth in the country, and that they will not be immediately implementing MTI technology.

MTI’s solar products make use of its proprietary NanoWeb technology, which is a transparent conductor made on an invisible metal mesh designed to allow more energy to pass through open surfaces.

“We are honored to be supported by Lockheed Martin, this agreement will allow us to accelerate the development of metaSOLAR as we aim to enter the solar market by providing advance photovoltaic technology to the aerospace and defence industry,” MTI Founder and CEO George Palikaras said in a statement.

The C-130J Super Hercules is Lockheed Martin’s military transport aircraft first introduced in 1999. The deal with MTI will offer continued support services and future solar energy opportunities for the aircraft.

The contract is Lockheed Martin’s first solar investment in Canada.