Skunk Works Celebrates 70 Years
5 September 2013
The following images represent just a snapshot of some of the Skunk Works’ leaders and aircraft that pushed, and continue to push, the envelope of aviation.
Skunk Works ARES
24 May 2013
The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA, has a reputation for applying innovative solutions to practical problems. Getting personnel and vehicles off of roads with known threats, such as improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, is one such problem. DARPA is addressing this problem in a program called ARES.
19 December 2012
Every so often employees at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics are asked to clean house. They go through their desk drawers and file cabinets to discard old and unnecessary materials to make space for the new. This process often results in unearthing items of historical significance. This was the case in 1990 and again 2006, when concepts or advanced design drawings, reports, and other documents dating back to the 1940s and ’50s were found.
10 March 2012
Convair abruptly halted efforts on its losing Kingfish design when the CIA selected the Lockheed A-12 in August 1959 as a high-speed, high-altitude replacement for the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. The CIA officially terminated Convair’s work on Project Gusto—the project code name for the Dragon Lady replacement—in February 1960. The company received a final payment for work related to the program in January 1963.However, only ten months later, Convair used the predecessor to Kingfish — FISH — as the starting point for design studies for an A-12 replacement.
8 December 2011
World War II-era images of the Lockheed Aircraft plant in Burbank, California, that was camouflaged to look like a town from the air.
30 September 2011
The final Kingfish configuration was a single-seat, full delta wing with slightly curved and highly swept leading edges. Two vertical tails were mounted on top of the wings and flush with the trailing edge. The aircraft weighed 103,200 pounds (gross weight) and carried 62,750 pounds of fuel, giving it a dry weight of 40,450 pounds. The aircraft measured 73 feet seven inches long and eighteen feet four inches high. The wingspan measured sixty feet. The wing area measured 1,815 square feet.
23 June 2011
The CIA initiated a U-2 successor program in the fall of 1957. Richard Bissell, project manager for the U-2 at the CIA, led the effort. Lockheed and Convair were invited to participate in the program. Lockheed’s efforts led to a series of design configurations called Archangel. Convair’s efforts led to a design called FISH—short for First Invisible Super Hustler.
Unmanned, Virtually Unlimited
6 April 2011
The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, based in Palmdale, California, is responsible for a number of unmanned vehicles that vary in size and mission with capabilities that range from hypersonic speeds to loitering quite literally for years.
9 December 2010
The Convair Super Hustler was a Mach 4 strategic weapons delivery system designed in the late 1950s. The aircraft was to be carried and launched from below the B-58B -- a proposed, but never built, larger version of the B-58A Hustler. The two-part design consisted of a front manned capsule powered by two ramjet engines with a turbojet for subsonic flight and landing. The nose of the manned section would droop for visibility on landings. The expendable, unmanned rear section was powered by two ramjet engines and carried fuel for the outbound legs. The rear section was designed to detach and deliver a large weapon, carried in the nose. The fueled weight of the composite craft was 46,000 pounds.
1 August 2010
The YF-12 was developed as a high-altitude Mach 3 interceptor for defense against supersonic bombers. The aircraft was the forerunner of the SR-71 supersonic high-altitude strategic reconnaissance aircraft.