Skunk Works deserves credit for several of the world’s most amazing and successful aerospace projects: SR-71, U-2, C-130, F-117, F-104, etc, etc. Clearly, the Skunk Works publicity department has no need to embellish the record.
That’s why this poster on the Skunk Works web site makes me so curious. Check out the aircraft pictured in the bottom-left corner. It’s a tiltrotor aircraft called the Eagle Eye.
Eagle Eye, as I’m sure many of you know, is not a Skunk Works project. The tiltrotor UAV was developed and tested exclusively by Bell Helicopter. It also didn’t exactly establish itself in a class with Skunk Works’ more successful ideas. The Eagle Eye was cancelled in 2006 after a flight test crash.
Its appearance on a Skunk Works publicity poster raises a few interesting questions. Maybe it’s just a bizarre typo by the marketing department. But what if it’s not? Could Lockheed Martin’s advanced development unit played an undisclosed role in the Eagle Eye’s development?
This is very likely an old chart. The FB-22 and AMC-X references are circa 2004. At that time, the Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman joint venture Integrated Coast Guard Systems had selected Eagle Eye for the Deepwater programme. But that didn’t make the Eagle Eye a Skunk Works aircraft any more than the EADS CASA HC-144.
There are really only three options: a) a mistake, b) needless appropriation of another company’s product or c) acknowledgement of an unannounced role in the Eagle Eye program.
My guess is ‘b’.