A Look Inside the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Trophy

A Look Inside the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Trophy
December 15, 2021

A Look Inside the Lockheed Martin
Armed Forces Bowl Trophy

Representing strength and sacrifice, this year's trophy was designed to honor all six branches of the US Military

Held high above the shoulders of champions, the new trophy represents more than victory. A symbol of strength and fortitude, the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Trophy stands as a testament to the courage of our brothers and sisters in arms– both past and present – who selflessly serve our country.

The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl game honors and recognizes the enormous sacrifices that America’s military personnel have made on the battlefield. And included within the trophy – the DNA, let’s call it, are decommissioned pieces of Lockheed Martin aircraft, spacecraft and weapons that are combat proven, like the Armed Forces that inspired it. Representing each of the six branches of the United States Armed Forces, each piece that goes into the trophy is an iconic symbol befitting of those who answer the call of duty.

Air Force: F-117 Nighthawk and F-16 Fighting Falcon 

For nearly a decade, Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works® team worked in extreme secrecy on the world’s first operational stealth aircraft, the F-117 Nighthawk. Deemed impossible, pilots, contractors and support personnel quietly flew to Tonopah Airfield north of Las Vegas each Sunday to spend the week working nights, conducting flight tests under the protection of the night sky to bring stealth to the battlefield.

The visionary design, grit and determination of the Skunk Works® team are embedded within the trophy. The trophy includes material from one of six F-117s flown during Operation Just Cause, the U.S. operation to bring Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega to justice. The aircraft nicknamed “Unexpected Guest,” entered operations in 1984, and was flown on 78 combat missions, the most of any F-117.

Serving a critical role in missions around the world for more than 40 years, the F-16 Fighting Falcon’s legacy is reflected in the trophy through shavings from the tooling used to produce and maintain the aircraft. We are proud to continue that legacy by producing the newest and most advanced F-16 – the Block 70/72 – at our Greenville, South Carolina facility, and delivering sustainment capabilities that ensure the company’s customers’ aircraft are mission ready, anytime and anywhere.

Army: Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Weapon System

For our Army soldiers, built into the trophy is hardware from the first Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System test against a live target. Flight Test FTT-03, conducted at White Sands Missile Range on July 12, 2006, culminated in a successful intercept. Defending against short, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, the THAAD Weapon System provides a unique endo- and exo-atmospheric ballistic defense capability and defends population centers and high value infrastructures. This highly mobile and robust capability is deployable to any region across the globe.

Coast Guard: HC-130J Hercules

To win a football game, there’s no better foundation than good old fashioned hard work. And that perseverance is reflected in the trophy through the C-130 Hercules transport. Known as a workhorse for good reason – it’s flown in support of a diverse array of missions for operators in 70 nations for more than 65 years and counting! The U.S. Coast Guard has operated a fleet of C-130s since 1959, the longest-serving aircraft in the U.S. Coast Guard’s history.

Today, the Coast Guard is recapitalizing its legacy Hercules fleet with the HC-130J Super Hercules. Each aircraft is capable of serving as an on-scene command and control platform or as a surveillance platform with the means to detect, classify and identify objects to share critical information with operational forces. Pieces of metal used to build the HC-130J are part of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Trophy.

Navy: MK 41 Vertical Launching System 

The invincible spirit of our Navy’s sailors is reflected in the trophy through pieces of the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS). For 41 years, the MK 41 VLS has carried out thousands of missions for the U.S. and allied navies. It has completed more than 4,300 successful firings, with launch success rates higher than 99 percent. Continuously improved, the MK 41 VLS can now launch more than 18 missile variants. 

Marines: F-35B

For our Marines and other military services worldwide, the F-35B represents the best of aviation technology. Many questioned the possibility of such a technological marvel with the capabilities to evade enemy radar, land on a carrier and hover like a helicopter.

Today, the vertical lift system and the F-35B are real and delivering for our armed forces across the world. The F-35 delivers combat air solutions, builds alliances that contribute to global deterrence, and supports the mission of the United States and its allies. The Armed Forces Bowl Trophy uses scrap parts for all three variants of the F-35, and it represents how Lockheed Martin continues to achieve the impossible and make history in the sky.

Space Force: Global Positioning System

Need directions to the game? No problem. GPS will get you there!

We all use GPS every day, but most people don’t know the Global Positioning System is first and foremost a warfighting system owned and operated by the U.S. Space Force. More than four billion civil, commercial and military users around the world depend on GPS’s vital Positioning, Navigation and Timing signals.

And the Armed Force Bowl Trophy has GPS too! A piece of metal from a testing plate for GPS III satellite antennas was included in the trophy. Lockheed Martin is building up to 32 GPS III and GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) satellites to help the Space Force modernize the GPS satellite constellation with new technology and advanced capabilities, including greater accuracy and new anti-jamming capabilities.

What does that mean for users? Better accuracy when and where it matters most.  

We are proud to honor this year’s Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl champion with such a worthy piece of hardware.