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DARPA/Lockheed Martin X-55 Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft (ACCA)

Greysleuth

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Got this today from someone in the air cargo business
Hi there,

I can't tell you much.

The An-32 (ER-AWK) belonged to Valan, Moldova. Skylink of Canada had an
interest in the company, and it was Skylink who brought it to USA in 2002 as
N6505. By March of this year it was back in Moldova as ER-AWK again and we
tried to lease it for a contract in Sudan. At the very last minute they sold
the aircraft from under our noses and walked away from our deal. I was
mightily pissed off !

As for the An-72/74, I don't know which one that might have been. None have
adopted an N-reg, as far as I know, but several have been across the pond
for various experimental projects. There was one required by Aurora Flight
Sciences for a few weeks in Manassas, Virginia in May of this year, and we
offered them an Enimex example. No idea what they wanted it for. They
delayed in replying for a week or so, and then did the deal with Enimex
direct, cutting me out ! I was mightily pissed off again!

I'm afraid I don't know of any pilots who could explain about single-engine
handling. The things certainly fly on one, and the point of putting the two
engines close together is to improve control if you lose one.

Sorry, that's all I know.
Cheers
Dick

What do we know about Aurora Flight Sciences?
Your comment, suggestions and observations much appreciated.
Thanks for your input so far.
Be lucky
David
 

yasotay

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I believe Aurora Flight Sciences does mostly UAV work...
 

flateric

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Aurora is a dozen of guys with a bunch of dollars from Pentagon and industry making weird and cool looking flying things. But I really didn't see any connection between charting 35-years old Antonov design from Estonian company and SOF transport.
 

flateric

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Yes, I lost it
Graham Warwick has it too
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2007/04/24/213450/aurora-takes-on-lockheed-in-contest-to-build-cargo-x-plane.html

As I understand Northrop too was in once
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2006/04/25/206180/northrop-studies-future-usaf-lift.html

"It should also be capable of cruising faster than the Boeing C-17, at speeds comparable with commercial airliners. “The wide speed range is the real challenge,” says Charlie Guthrie, director of advanced capabilities development for Northrop’s Integrated Systems sector.

“We are picking up where the YC-14 and YC-15 left off and taking it a step further,” says Scott Collins, director of future tactical systems. This is Northrop’s first public foray into the airlift arena. “We are pressing hard to expand our portfolio,” says Guthrie, who believes the company has a “unique and clever” design using an embedded and integrated propulsive lift system.

“The emphasis of IPLC is on low speed, and a follow-on phase will look at high speed, but we had to show our solution enables both,” says Collins.
 

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Northrop is doing the integrated propulsion, high-lift and flight control piece of the AJACS puzzle. Aurora and Lockheed are working on the composite airframe part. AFRL also plans other related demonstrations:

Speed Agile - windtunnel demostration of a Mach 0.8 STOL transport (looking for proposals): http://www.fbo.gov/spg/USAF/AFMC/AFRLWRS/BAA-07-07-PKV/SynopsisP.html

TEMPO - efficient transonic planform optimisation (not sure of status)

HIBRID - inlet development for embedded high-bypass engines (in source selection): http://www.fbodaily.com/archive/2007/05-May/02-May-2007/FBO-01284018.htm

HEETE - highly efficient embedded turbine engine (Rolls-Royce selected): http://www.rolls-royce.com/media/showPR.jsp?PR_ID=40544

INVENT - integrated energy management (looking for proposals): http://www.fbo.gov/spg/USAF/AFMC/AFRLWRS/Reference-Number-RFI-08-01-PKPA/Synopsis.html

They all seem to be headed for an integrated AJACS concept flight demonstrator akin to the YC-14/15 around 2015. Assuming it gets funding. The US Army is also looking for funding to fly a Joint Heavy Lift flight demonstrator in the same timeframe.
 

CammNut

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See this, just released by LockMart:

Lockheed Martin Awarded Phase II Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft Flight Demonstration Contract

PALMDALE, Calif., October 17, 2007 – The United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has authorized Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] to proceed to Phase II of the Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft (ACCA) Flight Demonstration contract.

“This contract represents an important first step to advance composite usage on next-generation tactical air mobility transports,” said Frank Cappuccio, executive vice president and general manager, Advanced Development Programs (the Skunk Works®), Lockheed Martin.

Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will build and flight-demonstrate an X-Plane type aircraft with emphasis on innovative structural configurations and concepts to include advanced prototyping and composite technologies. Its solution involves replacement of the mid/aft fuselage and empennage of a Dornier 328J aircraft with advanced composites within the required 12-month schedule.

“With ACCA we are attempting to reinvent the manufacturing paradigm through the strategic use of composite manufacturing technologies,” said Frank Mauro, vice president, Advanced Systems Development, Advanced Development Programs (the Skunk Works®), Lockheed Martin. “This is an important opportunity to forever change the way composites are used in aircraft manufacturing, leading to lighter, less expensive, more durable aircraft that are easier to maintain.”

Lockheed Martin’s integration of advanced composites on the ACCA flight demonstrator will enable a reduction of 80-90 percent in parts count and a dramatic reduction in corrosion and fatigue issues compared to conventional aircraft manufacturing approaches. Planned growth provisions will allow it to be used well into the future as a technology workhorse for additional air mobility advanced transport experiments. Further, ACCA will provide production traceability allowing the key technologies to be applicable to a broad spectrum of next generation aircraft including long range strike, unmanned systems and future air mobility transports.

ACCA is a capstone demonstration of several technologies developed under recent Department of Defense Contracted Research and Development (CRAD) programs, particularly the Composite Affordability Initiative. “AFRL is excited to authorize Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works® to proceed with their highly innovative demonstration program,” said Barth Shenk, AFRL program manager. AFRL is currently investigating opportunities for Aurora Flight Sciences to collaborate with Lockheed Martin and AFRL in the demonstration of additional technologies and capabilities for future transport structures.
 

Just call me Ray

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This is not the first time. Siskorsky built their first all-composite helicopter using the S-76 as a pattern.
 

CammNut

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You can see what the ACCA X-plane looks like here:

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2007/10/17/218714/lockheed-martin-to-build-composite-airlifter-x-plane.html

The fuselage aft of the flightdeck is replaced with an advanced composite structure that is wider, to accomodate two 463L pallets, and has a rear loading ramp. The vertical tail is replaced, but the wing and tailplane are retained.

Because AFRL did not have the time or money for an all-new demonstrator, the Skunk Works looked at a range of existing aircraft and picked the 328Jet because of its size, speed and the fact it was relatively modern, so design data was still available.

LockMart says it has proposed a roadmap to morph the ACCA into a demonstrator for other AJACS technologies, which I assume could mean integrated propulsion, lift and control with embedded engines. It all depends on funding, or course.
 

flateric

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http://www.rusi.org/downloads/assets/Next_Gen_Air_Mobility_79-81.pdf

The Next Generation of Air Mobility: Where Do We Go from Here?
by Frank Cappuccio

Frank Cappuccio is Vice President and General
Manager of Advanced Development Programs
(Skunk Works)1 and Strategic Planning at
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.


In late 2007, Lockheed Martin was chosen
to proceed to Phase II of the Advanced
Composite Cargo Aircraft, or ACCA,
flight demonstration programme. Under
this contract, awarded by the US Air Force
Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air
Force Base, Lockheed Martin will build and
flight-demonstrate an X-plane-type aircraft – a
highly modified 328 Jet commuter airliner
– that emphasises innovative structural
configurations and concepts such as advanced
prototyping and composite technologies.
This effort represents an important first
step to increase composite usage on nextgeneration
tactical transports. It is only
one piece of the puzzle when it comes to
eventually replacing the current generation
of military airlifters, however. The long-term
future of the world’s next-generation tactical
mobility aircraft is anything but clear.
Lockheed Martin studies in recent years
have explored the concept of a tailless
aircraft called the Boxwing, essentially a
diamond-shaped rigid structure sized to
carry 200,000lb of cargo. Other research
programmes have centred on advanced
designs for a supersonic transport that would
revolutionise the delivery of material and
personnel, both in terms of speed and reach.
Despite numerous industry efforts, it will
likely be some time before requirements
are solidified and funds provided to move
to the next stage of air mobility – aircraft
and concepts that are beyond today’s C-130J,
C-17 and nascent A400M.
 

flateric

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ACCA nuts and bolts are appearing in LM Aeronautics Star 1Q 2008 - Volume 9, No.1

A model job: A day in the life of the Wind Tunnel Model Shop employees

By Rosie Rodela

Hundreds of Palmdale employees walk by the outskirts of Building 601 every day. Along the south
side of the building is a sign that reads: Wind Tunnel Model Shop. Although it is a large sign, very few
people know what goes on behind the closed doors of the model shop.


In a small work area, six men spend
their days creating intricate wind tunnel
models. This important job requires
great skill, attention to detail and a lot of
patience. I had the opportunity to talk to
one of the senior model specialists, Jim
Stout, who gave me some insight into
the world of model making.
Stout began his 29-year career at the
company’s Rye Canyon facility in Santa
Clarita, Calif., as a tooling helper in the
machine shop and, within three months,
was transferred to the model shop and
has enjoyed it ever since.
Model-making techniques of today
are quite different from the techniques
used decades ago. “When I first started in
the model shop in 1979, we made
F-117 models out of mahogany wood.
Each piece was handcrafted. Back then
making a model would take anywhere
from six months to a year to build. Today,
parts are “grown” in stereolithography
machines at our Rye Canyon facility.
Basically, a laser cures a polymer solution
to form contours and other components
that are attached to a metallic inner
structure and do not need to be manually
or machine cut, just handworked to fit.
A model can be put together in two to
four months.”
The model shop produces a variety
of wind tunnel models including inlet
models, exhaust models, high- and
low-speed force models and program
models. They have also made missile
models including a full-scale working
model of a Joint Air-to-Surface
Standoff Missile (JASSM).
The latest model Stout and his coworkers
have worked on is a low speed
wind tunnel model for the Advanced
Cargo Composite Aircraft (ACCA). It
has taken the team three months to build.
Stout has been doing most of the metal
handwork on the model. This includes the
aluminum wing surfaces and the fixed tail
work. Now that the team has completed
the model, they will take it apart and ship
it to Marietta where it will undergo wind
tunnel testing.
But the model maker’s job continues
even after the model is complete. A
model specialist will accompany the
article wherever it undergoes testing.
“I’ve been to England to test the F-35
model we created,” said Stout. “I’ve
also had the opportunity to travel across
the country to places such as Georgia,
Tennessee, Alabama, Virginia, Michigan
and a few other states.”
During the various wind tunnel
tests, the model maker must incorporate
all modifications to the model as it
undergoes testing. He will manually
change the flaps, work different
configurations and make any
necessary repairs.
Following the first round of wind
tunnel testing, the model is returned to
the model shop for any necessary fixes. It
then goes back to the wind tunnel
for additional testing. Once the testing is
completed and the model is good to
go, an actual prototype of the aircraft
will be built.
“It’s an interesting job,” said Stout.
“We are always doing something
different. Over the years, I’ve had the
opportunity to work on a lot of models
including the P-3, L-1011, U-2, SR-71,
various helicopters, the F-22 and the
F-35. One of the best parts about it is that
we work on something for months and
actually get to see the finished product.”
Ironically, Stout’s hobbies do not
include building airplane models.
“I like working on my cars.” ★
 

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AeroFranz

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Greysleuth said:
Got this today from someone in the air cargo business
Hi there,


As for the An-72/74, I don't know which one that might have been. None have
adopted an N-reg, as far as I know, but several have been across the pond
for various experimental projects. There was one required by Aurora Flight
Sciences for a few weeks in Manassas, Virginia in May of this year, and we
offered them an Enimex example. No idea what they wanted it for. They
delayed in replying for a week or so, and then did the deal with Enimex
direct, cutting me out ! I was mightily pissed off again!

What do we know about Aurora Flight Sciences?
Your comment, suggestions and observations much appreciated.
Thanks for your input so far.
Be lucky
David

My apologies to the pissed off gentleman. We did get an An-72 (ES-NOB, there's a picture of it on Yefim Gordon's "Antonov's twin jets", p121), and at the time it was painted white but we could barely read "UN" (as in united nations) written in big black letters on the tail. We played with it for a month. It was parked in our hangar and I could see it just looking outside my office. That plane was awesome. Rustic, but awesome. Lots of neat solutions, like the way the cargo ramp can slide under the fuselage, blreds into the tail, or the thrust reverser system to name a few. I can talk about this because the An-72 is on our company calendar. We lost the main award for ACCA to Lockmart's 328, a much smaller aircraft. :-[
That's funny, because neither aircraft could fly at the required speed (M0.8), or carry a Hummer. At least we could claim to come close...anyway, we might work with LockMart as subcontractors.

As for engine out on twin engine Coanda effect transports, the YC-14 had a complex automatic system that semi-retracted the flaps on the "live" side to restore the rolling moment. I think that the high thrust-to-weight (about 0.6) did the rest to get the plane off the ground.

on another note, the shaft powered lift fans shown in the patent posted previously could be the basis of the VARIOUS shipborne VTOL UCAV.
 

AeroFranz

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I just posted about this on the "Senior citizen VTOL" thread a minute ago...
but to add to this conversation:
The RFP for ACCA is (or was) public domain. I can tell you that for the money the AF was willing to spend, the 328 makes much sense. No way you could build an X-plane from scratch, especially in the allotted time frame. Originally, the AF wanted this thing to carry a HMMWV and fly at 400+ kts. I guess they mustn't have been that serious about those requirement. The diameter of the 328 is probably half of what is needed for the job, and it lacks speed.
On the other hand, Lockheed can probably deliver something for the (little) amount of money AFRL spends on it.
 

flateric

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ACCA stuff from Senior Citizen thread teleported here.
Then goes the birdy...
 

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yasotay

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Gents M-O-N-E-Y. Plain and simple. Best looses to cost in a heartbeat, especially on experimental efforts. An-72 would have been a superb demonstrator. Sadly I suspect the USAF probably had a bit of prejudice regarding a Russian aircraft. Speculation on my part.
 

AeroFranz

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Lol ;D
That's ES-NOB alright, the baby we kept for a month!
I think the plan was to keep the An-72 secret for a while, but the whole thing was too big to fit in our hangar and the tail was sticking out; not much secrecy there i'm afraid. ;D

Good find Gregory.

Yasotay, you are VERY much right, of course. There is a sad culture in aerospace management, of underbidding the competition just so you can get the contract, fully knowing that at a later time you are going to beg the customer for more money, and/or overload the insufficient number of engineers. I am not saying Lockmart did this. By god, they have only been in the tactical transport business for 55 years, so i'm pretty sure they kow what they are doing...I revere the Skunkworks and have dear friends working there.
I will be curious to see if the program's goals will be met. They certainly won't be able to demonstrate the actual carriage of any vehicle, as specified in the RFP. Maybe a 463L pallet. Maybe.
 

Sentinel Chicken

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AeroFranz said:
The Boeing ATT (a.k.a. Super Lobster) drawing has something labeled "ADVINT arrays" and "ADVINT actuator" on it...any clue as to what that is?
BTW, thanks for uploading. The drawing is awesome.

ADVINT = ADaptive flow control Vehicle INtegrated Technologies.

This joint program between The Boeing Company, the Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency (DARPA), the Air Force Research Laboratories (AFRL), and the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) investigated the effectiveness of Active Flow
Control (AFC) to enhance the high-lift characteristics of a Super Short Take-Off and
Landing (SSTOL) aircraft. A series of 2-D and 3-D tests were performed to optimize the
AFC configuration on a simple, hinged flap system. A final test in this program was an 11%-
scale, powered semi-span model in the NASA Langley 14- by 22-foot Subsonic Tunnel. It was
demonstrated that active flow control could improve the aerodynamic performance of the
system and achieve breakthrough take-off and landing performance goals.
 

AeroFranz

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Thanks for the info.
Does your reference mention what kind of active flow control they were using? suction, blowing, etc...?
You'd thing those big props are already the mother of all blowing devices :)
I guess outboard AFC over the ailerons would help with retaining cotrol. ???
 

AeroFranz

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since this appeared in our company calendar, i think it's kosher to post...
I liked having Cheburashka in our hangar...
 

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flateric

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An-72 wing aerodynamic schematics and WT photos - courtesy MATI
 

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flateric

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http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3a65918845-aaa6-42f3-adb8-895b2b26d513
 

flateric

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Nice ACCA video at LM1 News http://www.lockheedmartin.com/data/assets/corporate/LM1/LM1-MAR09.wmv
 

Abraham Gubler

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yasotay said:
Sadly I suspect the USAF probably had a bit of prejudice regarding a Russian aircraft. Speculation on my part.

I think you will find its more prejudice against not-American and in particular adopting someone else's technology rather than developing their own. Antonov is a Ukrainian company which may be in a few years part of NATO. In which case a dusted off An-72 perhaps partnered with an established major contractor may be a strong competitor with the C-27J.
 

yasotay

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Abraham Gubler said:
yasotay said:
Sadly I suspect the USAF probably had a bit of prejudice regarding a Russian aircraft. Speculation on my part.

I think you will find its more prejudice against not-American and in particular adopting someone else's technology rather than developing their own. Antonov is a Ukrainian company which may be in a few years part of NATO. In which case a dusted off An-72 perhaps partnered with an established major contractor may be a strong competitor with the C-27J.

LOL. Indeed good point and yes I am embarrassed at my brilliance regarding the home country of Antonov. Had the An-72 been seriously considered the USAF might even have embraced the mission of the JCA because the An-72 is a jet. C-27J has those nasty propeller things that are NOT what the United States Air Force wants to fly. But then there is that whole "landing in the dirt, without a golf course" thing that they tend to shy away from. Sadly the point might well be that Congress persons might have found great ammunition out of a "Eastern European" aircraft instead of an American firm. U.S. Army is still catching this sort of thing now and again with the UH-72, and it is built in Mississippi (I think).
 

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Well Anotnov himself was Russian. While the Design Bureau is in Kiev the factories were across the old Soviet Union with the one in Ukraine being very much in the Russian part (Kharkov). But not that anyone in the Antonov business should be complaining. Their business future is very much in the west alignment not selling to Russia.

Maybe one day we will see An-72s being built in the US South (Alabama, Mississippi, Florida) with a US Label (Raytheon, Northrop, maybe even Boeing...). But I guess that depends on how USAF approaches the inevitable replacement of the C-130H.
 

yasotay

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Abraham Gubler said:
Well Anotnov himself was Russian. While the Design Bureau is in Kiev the factories were across the old Soviet Union with the one in Ukraine being very much in the Russian part (Kharkov). But not that anyone in the Antonov business should be complaining. Their business future is very much in the west alignment not selling to Russia.

Maybe one day we will see An-72s being built in the US South (Alabama, Mississippi, Florida) with a US Label (Raytheon, Northrop, maybe even Boeing...). But I guess that depends on how USAF approaches the inevitable replacement of the C-130H.

The Congressional delegations from Georgia, Missouri and California would take great umbridge at an aircraft built in any of the three you mention above.
 

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Bet the gang at AFRL are happy they got an "X-plane" designator. Not serious work without it.
 

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I think the X-55 ACCA ought to get a separate thread now, or at least be mentioned in the title... what do the mods think?

AIR_X-55_ACAA_Demonstrator_lg.jpg
 

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Another view...
 

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Just call me Ray

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So if someone can answer this question, why did they cut up and rebuild a Do-328 instead of just build a new plane, since that's almost what they did anyway?
 

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Most likely to save time and money. To design and build a completely new airplane to evaluate advanced composite material would have taken much more time. Even for the Skunk Works. Besides, maybe things are slow within the Skunk Works and LM wanted to keep its engineer and employee base active.
 

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If you are to demonstrate a new technology, better use a proven airframe, because if you don't, then you have to add up the aircraft's own test program on top of that technology's test program, and that more than doubles the whole evaluation period. Using proven elements gains time (Hiller's X-18 used a Chase C-122 airframe, Grumman's X-29 used a Northrop F-5 airframe) and of course saves money. The two programs described above (and many more) were successful. Others that introduced a new airframe were troubled with lots of technical obstacles to overcome (X-19 for instance).
 

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Lockheed Martin illustration showing X-55 ACCA components.

Source: Norris, Guy "X-Plane Updated" Ares blog at Aviation Week & Space Technology.
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3A27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3A628ff5ca-e739-4546-b2ee-7e715e1c51cf
 

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