Tag Archives | Skunk Works

CIA Oxcart history briefing back on YouTube, sans video

I suppose it’s only fitting that a historical briefing on the CIA A-12 Oxcart project gets wrapped up in intrigue. The Smithsonian Air & Space museum has resposted an audio-only version of the 24 September briefing on YouTube about one week after taking down a link showing the panel discussion in video. Since a couple […]

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VIDEO: Oxcart/SR-71 – History as indictment of today’s aerospace industry?

Could the modern US aerospace industry build an aircraft today that is as ambitious as the A-12 Oxcart/SR-71 was for its time? Could the industry build an aircraft today that could beat the performance of the CIA’s Oxcart and the Air Force’s Blackbird?If you ask the people who built it, I think they would probably […]

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Michael Yon captures RQ-170 at Kandahar

About six months ago, intrepid mil-blogger Michael Yon posted a comment on this blog below an item showing a new photo of an Northrop Grumman X-47B. Yon wrote:“I saw something like that land at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. (Maybe was something else, but looked very similar.)”Close, Michael, but not quite. The X-47B still hasn’t flown yet. […]

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Week-ahead open thread: Radar versus stealth, round 2?

The Mitchell Institute, an Air Force Association-funded think-tank, will release on Thursday a new paper called “Radar Game and the Value of Stealth”, by Rebecca Grant. It comes 12 years after Grant first published a paper called simply “The Radar Game“, which defended the US Air Force’s long insistence on a mostly- (if not all-) […]

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#AUVSI: Skunk Works unveils medium-altitude surprise

Lockheed Martin has unveiled a concept for a new unmannedaerial vehicle (UAV) that appears aimed at the emerging market for amedium-altitude surveillance aircraft with several days of endurance. A diagram on the exhibit booth yesterday identifies theaircraft by the acronym “MPLE”, but does not elaborate.The photo shows the aircraft flying at what appears to bemedium […]

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Pre-AUVSI, Skunk Works pushes VARIOUS

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works has posted a new marketing video featuring the VARIOUS (acronym alert: VTOL advanced reconnaissance insertion organic unmanned system). The video appears on YouTube on the eve of the AUVSI convention in Denver next week, where we expect to see the major UAV manufacturers address the US Navy’s emerging requirement for a […]

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Skunk’s bio stirs Aurora fantasies

A press release issued yesterday that promotes a new textbook authored by two Skunk Works engineers contains a reference to a mysterious aircraft program that quickly revived old Aurora conspiracies, yet is apparently not Aurora.The American Institute for Astronautics and Aeronautics (AIAA) describes Grant E. Carichner — who co-authored the newly-published “Fundamentals of Aircraft and […]

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Inside Phantom Works

I wish the photo above came from inside Boeing’s Phantom Works facility in St. Louis, which I toured yesterday morning. The image actually comes from inside the next building we toured, where the C-130 avionics modernization program (AMP) was briefed.But you can’t take cameras, cell phones, tape recorders, laptops and possibly even in hearing aids […]

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PHOTO: Evolution of the F-35 design

The Skunk Works design for what became the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter evolved over a decade. A very early sketch showing an F-117-like faceted airframe had changed radically by 1990. The “GhostHawk STOVL Strike Fighter” sported a configuration that included canards and a wing with a forward-swept trailing edge. Unfortunately, Skunk Works destroyed the documentation […]

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RQ-170 not intended to replace Predators and Reapers

Okay, no more MQ-X talk about the RQ-170 Sentinel.I interviewed USAF Col Eric Mathewson this morning after he spoke on a panel for an Army unmanned aircraft system (UAS) conference. Mathewson is the USAF’s director of the UAS task force. His job is to bet the ball rolling on the MQ-X program, which could start […]

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