Skunk Works®

 

For more than 70 years, the Skunk Works has existed to create revolutionary aircraft and technologies that push the boundaries of what is possible. Our unique culture is the key to our success – the secret ingredient that will define the solutions for the next 70 years and beyond. 

 

DEFINING THE FUTURE OF AEROSPACE

The Skunk Works of today is focused on the critical aircraft for tomorrow. Advanced technology solutions for manned and unmanned systems draw on our world-class capabilities in conceptual design, systems engineering and integration, complex project management, software development and rapid prototyping. These core capabilities tie to the foundation of the Skunk Works where founder Kelly Johnson’s mantra, “quick, quiet and quality,” guides each and every project from concept to flight.

As we look to the future, we see a global landscape that is rapidly evolving. By focusing on our core capabilities, we will continue innovating to provide our customers with cutting technology in the following areas:

 

Skunk Works Careers

What do the world’s first stealth aircraft, the world’s most advanced fighters, and the world’s fastest manned aircraft have in common? They were all imagined by “Skunks” – some of the most innovative, strategic and visionary thinkers around.

 

 

HISTORY

Unlike most of the work that we do at the Skunk Works, our spirit of innovation is no secret. We thrive on solving difficult problems, and that “can-do” attitude has led to many aerospace firsts and countless disruptive technology innovations.

Our unique organization started in 1943 when visionary Clarence “Kelly” Johnson got the green light to create an experimental engineering department to begin work on the secret XP-80 Shooting Star jet fighter. Johnson and his team designed and built the XP-80 in only 143 days, seven less than was required. It was this project that marked the birth of what would become the Skunk Works with Kelly Johnson at its helm.

What allowed Johnson to operate the Skunk Works so effectively and efficiently was his unconventional organizational approach. He broke the rules, challenging the current bureaucratic system that stifled innovation and hindered progress. His philosophy is spelled out in his "14 rules and practices."

 
"WE ARE DEFINED NOT BY THE TECHNOLOGIES WE CREATE
BUT THE PROCESS IN WHICH WE CREATE THEM."
-KELLY JOHNSON                                   

It is this unique approach that’s garnered seven Collier trophies and the National Medal of Technology. Furthermore, our willingness to take risks to advance aerospace technology has made Lockheed Martin responsible for more X or experimental planes than any other company in the industry.

Just like when we started, we’re not big on titles or protocol – we simply tackle the toughest technical challenges, regularly meeting schedules on time and under budget.

 

RESOURCES
MISSIONS IMPOSSIBLE
The Skunk Works story
 
8 UNMANNED AIRCRAFT THAT CAN IMPROVE OUR WORLD
An unfolding and expanding future
 
TURNING AN IDEA INTO REALITY
Creating game-changing technological advancement for our customers
 
ALONE, UNARMED, UNAFRAID
U-2 pilots fly many types of missions
 
STAYING AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Air dominance is essential to modern warfare
 
CARRYING AIR MOBILITY INTO THE FUTURE
Leaner budgets mean greener aircraft
 
HIGH FLYING HEART OF THE U-2
Hear from the Dragon Keepers