Defining the Future of Unmanned Aerial Systems
Unmanned aerial vehicles have come along 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.