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Encyclopedia > Skunk works
A modern Skunk Works project leverages an older: LASRE atop the SR-71 Blackbird.

Skunk Works is a term used in engineering and technical fields to describe a group within an organization given a high degree of autonomy and unhampered by bureaucracy, tasked with working on advanced or secret projects. Download high resolution version (1650x1299, 1693 KB) NASA photo ID: EC98-44440-4 The NASA SR-71 Blackbird successfully completed its first cold flow flight as part of the NASA/Rocketdyne/Lockheed Martin Linear Aerospike SR-71 Experiment (LASRE) at NASAs Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base... Download high resolution version (1650x1299, 1693 KB) NASA photo ID: EC98-44440-4 The NASA SR-71 Blackbird successfully completed its first cold flow flight as part of the NASA/Rocketdyne/Lockheed Martin Linear Aerospike SR-71 Experiment (LASRE) at NASAs Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base... LASRE is NASAs Linear Aerospike SR-71 Experiment which took place at the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California and concluded November 1998. ... The Lockheed SR-71 was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed YF-12A and A-12 aircraft by the Lockheed Skunk Works. ...

Contents

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works

Entrance plaza at the Skunk Works in Palmdale, California
Entrance plaza at the Skunk Works in Palmdale, California

Skunk Works—an official alias for Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs, formally Lockheed Advanced Development Projects has been responsible for a number of famous aircraft designs, including the U-2, the SR-71, and the F-117. Its largest current project is the F-35 JSF (Joint Strike Fighter), which will be used in the air forces of several countries around the world. Production is expected to last for up to four decades. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2560 × 1920 pixel, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2560 × 1920 pixel, file size: 1. ... Motto: Aerospace Capital of America Location of Palmdale in Los Angeles County, California Coordinates: , Country United States of America State California County Los Angeles Government  - Mayor James C. Ledford Jr. ... Lockheed/BAE/Northrop F-35 Lockheed Trident missile C-130 Hercules; in production since the 1950s, now as the C-130J Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is an aerospace manufacturer formed in 1995 by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta. ... The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed Dragon Lady, is a single-seat, single-engine, high-altitude aircraft flown by the United States Air Force. ... The Lockheed SR-71 was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed YF-12A and A-12 aircraft by the Lockheed Skunk Works. ... This article is about the stealth fighter. ... The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is a military fighter aircraft designed by the United States and the United Kingdom. ... An air force, in some countries called an air army, is a military or armed service that primarily conducts aerial warfare. ...


The roots for the Skunk Works started in Burbank, California when Lockheed was tasked with building a high speed, highly maneuverable fighter to compete with the aircraft coming out of the Messerschmitt factory. Lockheed Model 22 rolled out in December 1938 and had her maiden flight on January 27, 1939. This plane would later be known as the P-38, and would be one of the most successful aircraft in the U.S. military for its time. Burbank is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. ... The Lockheed SR-71 was remarkably advanced for its time and remains unsurpassed in many areas of performance. ... Messerschmitt is a famous German aircraft manufacturer, known primarily for their World War II fighter aircraft, notably the Bf 109 and Me 262. ... is the 27th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was one of the most important American fighters of the Second World War. ...


Lockheed considers June 1943 the birth month of the Skunk Works known today. "The Air Tactical Service Command (ATSC) of the Army Air Force met with Lockheed Aircraft Corporation to express its need for a jet fighter. A rapidly growing German jet threat gave Lockheed an opportunity to develop an airframe around the most powerful jet engine that the allied forces had access to, the British Goblin. Lockheed was chosen to develop the jet because of its past interest in jet development and its previous contracts with the Air Force. One month after the ATSC and Lockheed meeting, a young engineer by the name of Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson and other associate engineers hand delivered the initial XP-80 proposal to the ATSC. Two days later the go-ahead was given to Lockheed to start development and the Skunk Works was born, with Kelly Johnson at the helm. The formal contract for the XP-80 did not arrive at Lockheed until October 16, 1943; some four months after work had already begun. This would prove to be a common practice within the Skunk Works. Many times a customer would come to the Skunk Works with a request and on a handshake the project would begin, no contracts in place, no official submittal process. Kelly Johnson and his Skunk Works team designed and built the XP-80 in only 143 days, seven less than was required."[1] The Lockheed SR-71 was remarkably advanced for its time and remains unsurpassed in many areas of performance. ...


Later, near the close of World War II, Skunk Works was tasked with developing the United States' first operational jet fighter—the P-80 Shooting Star. A small team of engineers led by Kelly Johnson created the first prototype in only 143 days. (Kelly Johnson headed the Skunk Works until 1975. He was succeeded by Ben Rich.) Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... The Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star was the first operational jet fighter used by the United States Army Air Forces. ... Clarence L. Kelly Johnson (November 27, 1910 - December 21, 1990) was an aircraft engineer and aeronautical innovator with Lockheed who played a leading role in the design of more than forty aircraft. ... Year 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Benjamin Robert Rich (June 18, 1925 – January 5, 1995) was the second director of Lockheeds Skunk Works from 1975 to 1991, succeeding its founder, Kelly Johnson. ...


In 1955, the Skunk Works received a contract to build a spyplane known as the U-2 with the intention of overflying the Soviet Union and photographing sites of strategic interest. The U-2 was tested at Groom Lake in the Nevada desert. The first overflight took place on July 4th 1956. The U-2 ceased overflights when Francis Gary Powers was shot down during a mission on May 1, 1960, while over Russia. Year 1955 (MCMLV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1955 Gregorian calendar). ... The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed Dragon Lady, is a single-seat, single-engine, high-altitude aircraft flown by the United States Air Force. ... Area 51 (also known as Air Force Flight Test Center (Detachment 3)[1], Dreamland, Paradise Ranch[2], Home Base, Watertown Strip, Groom Lake[3], The Box, Neverland, and other names) is a remote tract of land in the southwestern portion of Lincoln County in southern Nevada, located at , , at the... Official language(s) English Capital Carson City Largest city Las Vegas Area  Ranked 7th  - Total 110,567 sq mi (286,367 km²)  - Width 322 miles (519 km)  - Length 490 miles (788 km)  - % water 0. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1956: Events March March 10 - Lt Cdr Peter Twiss sets a new airspeed record in the Fairey Delta FD.2, also becoming the first person to exceed 1,000 mph. ... Francis Gary Powers (August 17, 1929 - August 1, 1977) was the American pilot whose U-2 plane was shot down while over the Soviet Union, thus causing the U-2 Crisis of 1960. ... The U–2 Crisis of 1960 occurred when an American U–2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union. ... is the 121st day of the year (122nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1960: Events January January 1 - Fiji Airways is reconstituted, becoming equally owned by BOAC, QANTAS, and Tasman Empire Airways. ...


The Skunk Works had predicted that the U-2 had a limited operational life over the Soviet Union. The CIA agreed. The Skunk Works got a contract in late 1959 to build five A-12 aircraft at a cost of $96 million dollars. Building a Mach 3.0 aircraft out of titanium posed enormous difficulties and the first flight did not occur until 1962. Several years later, the U.S. Air Force became interested in the design, and it ordered the SR-71 Blackbird, an improved two-seater version of the A-12. This aircraft first flew in 1966 and remained in service until 1989. Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Lockheed A-12 was a reconnaissance aircraft built for the Central Intelligence Agency by Lockheeds famed Skunk Works. ... An F/A-18 Hornet breaking the sound barrier. ... General Name, Symbol, Number titanium, Ti, 22 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 4, 4, d Appearance silvery metallic Standard atomic weight 47. ... Year 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1962 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare branch of the United States armed forces and one of the seven uniformed services. ... The Lockheed SR-71 was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed YF-12A and A-12 aircraft by the Lockheed Skunk Works. ... Year 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the 1966 Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ...


The D-21 drone, similar in design to the Blackbird, was built to overfly China. This drone sat on top of a specially modified A-12, known as M-21, of which there were two built. No D-21s were successfully launched from M-21s, although a few were deployed from B-52s. The D-21 mounted on the back of the M-21 - Photo: Lockheed The Lockheed D-21 was a Mach 3+ reconnaissance drone that began development in October 1962. ... The £124 million Taranis UAV built by BAE Systems An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is an aircraft with no onboard pilot. ... B-52 can refer to the following: The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber aircraft A hairstyle popular in the 1950s and 1960s, named after the aircraft A rock band, The B-52s, named after the hairstyle A cocktail This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which...


After the Cold War ended in 1989, Lockheed reorganized its operations and relocated the Skunk Works to Site 10 at U.S. Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, where it remains in operation today. For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... Sign by one of the gates into Plant 42. ... City nickname:Aerospace Capital of America County Los Angeles County, California Area  - Total  - Water 272. ... Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ...


The term "Skunk Works" is a registered trademark of Lockheed Martin; the company also holds several registrations of it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. They have filed several challenges against registrants of domain names containing variations on the term under anti-cybersquatting policies, and have lost a case under the .uk domain name dispute resolution service against a company selling cannabis seeds and paraphernalia, which used the word "skunkworks" in its domain name (referring to "Skunk", a variety of the cannabis plant). Lockheed Martin claimed the company registered the domain in order to disrupt its business and that consumer confusion might result. The respondent company argued that Lockheed "used its size, resources and financial position to employ "bullyboy" tactics against [..] a very small company."[2] PTO headquarters in Alexandria The United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO or USPTO) is an agency in the United States Department of Commerce that provides patent and trademark protection to inventors and businesses for their inventions and corporate and product identification. ... According to the U.S. federal law known as the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, cybersquatting is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad-faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. ...


Aircraft

The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American fighter aircraft. ... The Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star was the first operational jet fighter used by the United States Army Air Forces. ... XF-90 The Lockheed XF-90 was built as a long-range penetration fighter and bomber escort, in response to the same U. S. Air Force requirement that produced the XF-88 Voodoo. ... The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a single-engine, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft that served with the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1958 until 1967 and continued in service with the Air National Guard until it was phased out in 1975. ... The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed Dragon Lady, is a single-seat, single-engine, high-altitude aircraft flown by the United States Air Force. ... The Lockheed A-12 was a reconnaissance aircraft built for the Central Intelligence Agency by Lockheeds famed Skunk Works. ... The Lockheed SR-71 was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed YF-12A and A-12 aircraft by the Lockheed Skunk Works. ... The Lockheed D-21 Tagboard was a Mach 3+ reconnaissance drone that began development in October 1962. ... Have Blue was the code-name for Lockheeds prototype Stealth Fighter program which preceded the F-117 Nighthawk production stealth aircraft project. ... This article is about the stealth fighter. ... The F-22 Raptor is a fifth generation fighter aircraft which utilizes fourth generation Stealth technology. ... The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is a fighter plane currently in early development by Lockheed Martin (with partners Northrop Grumman and BAE SYSTEMS.) The primary customers are the United States armed forces and the United Kingdom (RN and RAF), but the Netherlands... X-27 mockup in a Lockheed Corporation hanger The X-27 was a proposed lightweight fighter aircraft derived from the Lockheed Skunk Works CL-1200 Lancer project. ... The Lockheed Martin Polecat is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle developed by Lockheed Martins Advanced Development Programs division in Palmdale, California. ... Categories: Naval stubs ...

Term origin

The Skunk Works logo as seen on one of Lockheed Martin's hangars.
The Skunk Works logo as seen on one of Lockheed Martin's hangars.

The term "Skunk Works" came from the Al Capp comic strip Li'l Abner, which was popular in the 1940s. In the comic, the "Skonk Works" was a backwoods still operated by Big Barnsmell, known as the "inside man at the Skonk Works." In his secret facility, he made "kickapoo joy juice" by grinding dead skunks and worn shoes into a smoldering vat. Image File history File linksMetadata Skunkworks-logo. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Skunkworks-logo. ... I do Lil Abner!!, a self-portrait by Al Capp, excerpted from the April 16-17 1951 Lil Abner strips. ... This article is about the comic strip, the sequential art form as published in newspapers and on the Internet. ... Lil Abner was a comic strip in United States newspapers, featuring a fictional clan of hillbillies in the town of Dogpatch. ... Genera Mephitis Spilogale Conepatus The skunks or Mephitidae are a family of medium-sized mammals, typically black-and-white-furred, belonging to the order Carnivora. ...


The original Lockheed facility, during the development of the P-80, was located downwind of a malodorous plastics factory. According to Ben Rich's memoir, an engineer showed up to work one day wearing a Civil Defense gas mask as a gag. To comment on the smell and the secrecy the project entailed, another engineer, Irving Culver, referred to the facility as "Skonk Works". One day, when the Department of the Navy was trying to reach the Lockheed management for the P-80 project, the call was accidentally transferred to Culver's desk. Culver answered the phone in his trademark fashion of the time, by picking up the phone and stating "Skonk Works, inside man Culver". "What?" replied the voice at the other end. "Skonk Works," Culver repeated. The name stuck. Culver later said at an interview conducted in 1993 that "when Kelly Johnson heard about the incident, he promptly fired me. It didn't really matter, since he was firing me about twice a day anyways."[3][4] The Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star was the first operational jet fighter used by the United States Army Air Force. ... The old United States civil defense logo. ... Seal The United States Department of the Navy was established by an Act of Congress on April 30, 1798, to provide administrative and technical support, and civilian leadership to the United States Navy. ... The Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star was the first operational jet fighter used by the United States Army Air Force. ... Clarence L. Kelly Johnson (November 27, 1910 - December 21, 1990) was an aircraft engineer and aeronautical innovator with Lockheed who played a leading role in the design of more than forty aircraft. ...


At the request of the comic strip copyright holders, Lockheed changed the name of the advanced development company to "Skunk Works" in the 1960s. The name "Skunk Works" and the skunk design are now registered trademarks of the Lockheed Martin Corporation.[5]


Origin Skunkworks

"Skunkworks" was also used, in reference to Lockheed's, as the name of two of computer game developer Origin Systems's flight simulator development teams, the Baltimore and Austin Origin Skunkworks, which created (in co-operation with Jane's) the award-winning AH-64D Longbow and numerous other combat flight simulators.[6] Origin Systems, Inc. ... Nickname: Motto: The Greatest City in America,[4] Get in on it. ... Nickname: Location in the state of Texas Coordinates: , Country United States State Texas Counties Travis County Government  - Mayor Will Wynn Area  - City  296. ... Janes Information Group (often referred to as Janes) was founded by John F.T. Jane in 1898. ... AH-64D Longbow is a PC flight simulator released in June of 1996. ...


References in popular culture

On TV's King of the Hill, Hank Hill's boss, Mr. Strickland, refers to the men's room as the "skunk works," on account of the smell. He frequently holds meetings there while on the toilet. In addition, in the episode "Dog Dale Afternoon", Dale refers to his mower as "code named Redeemer at the Mason Mower Skunk works inside Mount Hood," comparing his mower to a jet. This article is about the television program. ... Information Gender Male Age 41 Date of birth c. ...


The computer game, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, includes a base facility, 'Skunkworks,' which allows any base in which it is built to construct units that have not yet been prototyped without the usual increased mineral penalty. Sid Meiers Alpha Centauri (sometimes abbreviated to SMAC or Alpha Centauri) is a 4X turn-based strategic computer game created by Brian Reynolds and Sid Meier under the auspices of Firaxis Games in 1999. ...


In the Star Trek: Titan novels Dr. Xin Ra-Havreii, designer of the USS Titan, refers to the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards as the Skunkworks.


In homage to the Skunk Works, Specialized Bicycles named their advanced products division "S-Works"


Daniel Hecht's 2001 novel The Babel Effect refers to a group of cutting-edge genetic researchers as the "Skunk Works" team.


Bicycle component manufacturer Shimano also has a Skunkworks division that does prototyping of race equipment using professional cyclists during their race seasons. Shimano, Inc. ...


See also

Area 51 (also known as Air Force Flight Test Center (Detachment 3)[1], Dreamland, Paradise Ranch[2], Home Base, Watertown Strip, Groom Lake[3], The Box, Neverland, and other names) is a remote tract of land in the southwestern portion of Lincoln County in southern Nevada, located at , , at the... Have blue on ground Have Blue was the code-name for Lockheeds prototype Stealth Fighter program which preceded the F-117 Nighthawk production stealth aircraft project. ... U. S. Air Force Plant 42 is a federally-owned military aerospace facility in Palmdale, California where aerospace contractors share a common runway complex, and either lease building space from the Air Force, or own their own building outright. ... Artists depiction of the Cormorant The Cormorant is a project currently under development at Lockheed Martins Skunk Works research facility. ... Clarence L. Kelly Johnson (November 27, 1910 - December 21, 1990) was an aircraft engineer and aeronautical innovator with Lockheed who played a leading role in the design of more than forty aircraft. ... Benjamin Robert Rich (June 18, 1925 – January 5, 1995) was the second director of Lockheeds Skunk Works from 1975 to 1991, succeeding its founder, Kelly Johnson. ...

External links

  • Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Programs Lockheeds Martin's Advanced Development Programs Site
  • Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works Celebrates Diamond Anniversary (Lockheed Martin Press Release)
  • The Graphing Calculator Story A story of how Pacific Tech's Graphing Calculator started out as a skunkworks project in Apple Computer
  • Skunk Works Magic Popular Mechanics article on Skunk Works
  • Maps and aerial photos for 34°38′23″N 118°04′27″W / 34.639811, -118.074102Coordinates: 34°38′23″N 118°04′27″W / 34.639811, -118.074102

Apple Inc. ... Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Skunk Works, Lockheed Martin Corporation
  2. ^ http://www.nic.uk/digitalAssets/18073_ukskunkworks_appeal.pdf
  3. ^ Pace, Steve, Lockheed Skunk Works, p. 11. Rich, Ben, Skunk Works.
  4. ^ How the Skunk Works got its name
  5. ^ Boyne, Walter J., Beyond the Horizons, p. 154.
  6. ^ http://www.gamespot.com/features/pcgraveyard_janes/

References

  • Rich, Ben; Janos, Leo. (1996) Skunk Works. Little, Brown & Company, ISBN 0-316-74300-3

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If necessity is the mother of invention, then a skunk works is her creative big sister.
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Skunk Works is the true story, told for the first time, of America's most secret and successful aerospace operation.
As recounted by Ben Rich, the operation's brilliant boss for nearly two decades, the story of Lockheed's legendary Skunk Works is a high-stakes drama of cold war confrontations and Gulf War air combat, of extraordinary feasts of engineering and human achievement against fantastic odds.
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