Defining the Future
At Lockheed Martin Skunk Works®, your mission defines our purpose. Our team of dedicated engineers and scientists assume it can be done. With a visionary focus on the future, we partner with our customers to anticipate tomorrow’s capability gaps and technology needs to solve the most critical national security challenges today.
With our enduring legacy, unique culture and way of operating, Skunks move quickly to develop disruptive solutions in core capability areas needed for our nation’s future success. Discover how our team is defining the future by clicking the capability icons below.
Transforming the Fight
Like a good chess game, at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® we’re always thinking five steps ahead. And in today’s constantly changing and highly contested battlespace, staying ahead is critical.
The global defense landscape is more unpredictable than ever before. So what are we doing today to ensure that we maintain U.S. air dominance in a post-2035 world?
In partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), U.S. Air Force and Navy, our Skunk Works team has been exploring ways to deliver non-linear, game-changing capabilities that deter current and emerging threats – ultimately delivering a competitive and decisive advantage for the U.S and its Allies.
The Skunk Works is committed to advancing technical capabilities and investigating new venues for developing next generation air dominance (NGAD) air platforms as well as potential enhancements to current platforms that are projected to be a part of the future joint force structure.
Informed by a legacy of successfully conceptualizing and developing leading-edge technology aircraft like the SR-71, F-117, F-22 and F-35, the Skunk Works spirit of innovation and ability to quickly and quietly deliver a quality product is what our customers have come to rely on for more than 75 years.
Defining the Future of Unmanned Aerial Systems
Unmanned aerial vehicles have come a long way since the world’s first unmanned aerial vehicle, the Kettering Aerial Torpedo, was introduced in 1918. The vehicle’s mission was precision attack and it was guided toward its target by a system of preset internal controls. It was a remarkable and sophisticated technology for its time.
Since then, we’ve made an exponential leap in computing power, advanced flight controls and materials to advance the capabilities of unmanned systems. These systems partner with a manned operator and are known for supporting the dull, dirty and dangerous missions, keeping humans safe and out of harm’s way.
Today, we no longer have the luxury of a single aircraft performing a single mission – threats in the battlespace are driving the need for agile, multi-mission aircraft to support evolving battlespace needs.
When we consider the next generation of unmanned aerial systems, success in this ever-changing world will depend on survivable, interoperable systems that fully realize the human-machine team and can penetrate and operate in contested environments.
Leveraging more than six decades of unmanned aerial systems expertise, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® is working on solutions for next generation systems that combine stealth technology, open systems architecture, manned/unmanned teaming, and persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
An Enduring Legacy of Unmanned Aerial Systems Innovation
The unique and proven Skunk Works approach has enabled seemingly impossible tasks to become a reality, including the design of revolutionary unmanned aerial systems and enabling technologies.
Our work extends as far back as the 1960s with the D-21, then continues with the Aquila, Tier 3 Minus, Polecat, X-44, RQ-170 and much work completed in secrecy. In partnership with our visionary customers, the Skunk Works looks forward to leveraging our unmanned systems expertise to create trusted solutions for many years to come.
Next Generation ISR
Most of us will never fully understand or appreciate the impact of the missions of America’s spy planes. But that’s the point. For decades, U.S. reconnaissance aircraft have been relentlessly looking deep into enemy territory to provide sensitive information to our country to keep the peace.
There’s great diversity in today’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, with unmanned and manned options large and small. Regardless of their physical differences, our systems all have common denominators: high powered sensors to provide crisp, clear imagery and data.
As the threat evolves to a highly contested environment, a more advanced, survivable, persistent ISR system is needed to provide lifesaving intelligence for our warfighers. We’re working on solutions that combine stealth technology, speed and improved sensors to be able to penetrate and operate in a hostile environment. By leveraging our expertise in open system architecture, we’re ensuring these solutions can connect with systems across air, space, land, sea and cyber to rapidly share data and create confusion for our adversaries, ensuring dominance in the multi-domain fight of the future.
The Need for Speed
There’s a common saying among military pilots that speed is life. In nature, speed allows an animal to outrun a predator. In a dogfight, speed gives a pilot a distinct, often lifesaving, advantage.
To put the advantage speed offers in context, consider this: a Mach 2 supersonic fighter jet flies about 1,400 miles per hour or about 20 miles per minute. That means that fighter jet could cross the contiguous U.S. in under two hours. At Mach 5 and higher, you enter the hypersonic zone where speeds above 3,840 mph can take you almost anywhere in the world within an hour. When you can get anywhere anytime, speed becomes a significant difference-maker in the battlespace.
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® has a proven track record for creating systems designed to maximize the speed advantage. With practical applications across the commercial and military world, our team of talented Skunks continues to explore how to deliver a decisive competitive edge to the U.S. and its Allies.