Some Skunkworks History Revealed

Lockheed’s Skunk Works has finally revealed some of its earliest efforts on stealthy drones:

In 2001, Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works secretly flew a flying wing unmanned air vehicle (UAV) with a roughly 9m (30ft) wingspan with modular wings and a bulbous fuselage as a technology demonstrator for a family of aircraft.

As the company prepares to celebrate the Skunk Works’ 75th anniversary in June, Lockheed decided to reveal the existence of the formerly secret project at the Los Angeles County air show on 24 March in Lancaster, California, which lies few miles north on Highway 14 from the unit’s headquarters in Palmdale.

Lockheed’s “X-44A” greeted visitors at the entrance of the five-year-old local event near Edwards AFB, a storied flight test centre for the US Air Force and NASA.

Although the project’s existence is no longer a secret, Lockheed is not yet prepared to offer many details beyond the year of its first flight and its role as a demonstrator for a family of UAVs.

If anyone is going to the air show, see if you can get a Q&A session with a Lockheed rep.

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