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Skunk Works- One of America's Secrets to Air Supremacy?

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posted on Nov, 7 2006 @ 07:36 AM
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I firmly believe in giving credit where it is rightfully dew! I was just looking over how the US has maintained Air Supemacy for so many years. After thinking about it, I think Lockheed's Skunk Works deserves a lot of credit. Think about it, they have time and again allowed the Pentagon to leap frog ahead by bringing new technology to our troops in record time. I think I know there secret: They beat the beurocracy the US is so famious for.

The secret is in using a small team of highly specialized Engineers and Scientists, who basically limit there time doing paper work to documenting research. Second is to trust people to do their job without having to be watched. Third, sometimes proven technology is better than the unknow (develop in between programs and go with what you know works). Forth, Keep the coustemer in the loop, so their are no misunderstanding that lead to bad surprizes later.

What do you think? Is Kelly Johnson's model for R&D one of the secrets of US sucess in air power. Would expanding the concept improve US Areospace ?

Tim




posted on Nov, 8 2006 @ 06:11 AM
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In Ben Richs book on his times at Skunkworks he tells how Northrop tried to recruit him onto the team for the development of what became the B-2. He seriously considered it and went to Kelly Johnson to ask his advice. I seem to remember that Johnson told him something along the lines of "Northrop isnt the skunkworks and within a few years they will be swimming in paper-work and beaurocracy". Rich stayed at Lockheed and soon found that Johnson was right.

Ill try and look up a couple of quotes from the book later.



posted on Nov, 8 2006 @ 07:04 AM
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The Skunk Works by Ben Rich is a great book. I have a copy of it in my personal library. For anyone who hasn't read it I would highly recommend it!

Here a link to it if anyone is intrested: Skunk Works

Tim



posted on Nov, 8 2006 @ 07:47 AM
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KJ was the man - a true genius in aeronautical development. He saw the red tape at Lockheed growing and took a group of smart people and just DID IT. The Ben Rich book is excellent, a must read for anyone who likes planes and things and also a good read for anyone looking to design and develop a product. Just think what a space shuttle done by the Skunks works would have been - built by 500 people in a couple of years and flying monthly with a handful of people. Instead we got a bloated goat for our money, steeped in red tape, committee's, and pork barrel politics....

I suspect however, that today, the red tape (corporate, Defense Dept., OSHA, etc.) has reduced the capability of this great group. The red tape lovers will find a way to screw with all good things....



posted on Nov, 8 2006 @ 08:22 AM
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I could not agree more, Skunkworks has been one the biggest (if not THE biggest)innovator of radical thinking and incorporation of new technologies. Those guys don't just think outside the box, they design the box that they can think outside of!

Great thread...nice to be able to raise the roof for the guys. Peace, Mondo



posted on Nov, 8 2006 @ 06:38 PM
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Originally posted by UofCinLA
KJ was the man - a true genius in aeronautical development. He saw the red tape at Lockheed growing and took a group of smart people and just DID IT.


That's my point! Kelly developed and built the Blackbird in 30 months (2 1/2 years). I doubt if anyone today could achieve such a feat. Look also at the amazing list of planes that were born in the Skunk Works:

P-80/F-80 Shooting Star- First American Jet Fighter
F-104 Star Fighter
U-2 Spyplane
A-12/ YF-12/SR-71 Blackbird family of spyplanes
D-21 First Supersonic UAV
F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter
F-22 Raptor

This is just a quick list, I'm sure I forgot something. Who elso has brought out so many ground breaking airplanes over the years?

Tim



posted on Nov, 10 2006 @ 05:42 PM
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I've done a lot of research on the development of the U-2 spyplane, and just from that, I have to say that the team at Skunkworks at that time did an absolutely incredible job. A problem that would have taken anyone else 5-6 years, they sorted in a matter of weeks. Need a new high-altitude fuel? Then get a new high-altitude fuel. It was as simple as that.
Area 51 wouldn't exist without them, the U.S. would have been totally blind during many many conflicts since the 50's, and there have been some amazing innovations in the aerospace world that wouldn't have come about if KJ hadn't been there pushing his team.


Credit where credit is due.



posted on Nov, 10 2006 @ 05:48 PM
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I think a large part of America's success largely lies in the laps of the Diplomats who successfully encouraged their "allies" to pursue "complimentary" technologies rather then Fighter/Bomber technology...

[edit on 10-11-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on Dec, 3 2006 @ 07:50 PM
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Believe Northrop-Grumman have the 'Black Cat' facility, The equivalent of 'Skunk Works' where all black projects are under development.




posted on Dec, 3 2006 @ 08:47 PM
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Originally posted by Browno
Believe Northrop-Grumman have the 'Black Cat' facility, The equivalent of 'Skunk Works' where all black projects are under development.


The Black Cat facility sounds intresting to me! Where can I get more info on it?

Tim

[edit on 3-12-2006 by Ghost01]



posted on Dec, 4 2006 @ 12:49 AM
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Originally posted by Browno
Believe Northrop-Grumman have the 'Black Cat' facility, The equivalent of 'Skunk Works' where all black projects are under development.

"Black Cat" facility?
No one I know at Northrop has ever heard of the "black cat" facility. And I've talked to some old timers...
The advanced tech aerospace facility operated currently by Northrop Grumman is called the "Advanced Capabilities Development Center".
Word is that Special Access Projects presently go to a facility called "Basic", location - unknown, or not discussed.



posted on Dec, 4 2006 @ 01:44 PM
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The Northrop 'Black Cat' Facility was mentioned here:
modelingmadness.com...



posted on Dec, 4 2006 @ 03:01 PM
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This site and the reference to the Black Cat facility has been brought up before. I tihnk it might have even been the same poster both times.

How are we meant to trust a modelling site which contains a "credible" history of the F-19 program and includes such quotes as:

"there was little left of the aircraft to be recognizable as an F-19; it was eventually hauled away to an undisclosed location. Rumor has it that it is buried under the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas."

"Almost one year to the day, July 1987, Congress announced that the F-19 Specter was to be cancelled." (announced to who?)

Lets drop this black cat facility nonsense and accept that its simply fantasy.



posted on Dec, 5 2006 @ 06:09 AM
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Originally posted by gfad
Lets drop this black cat facility nonsense and accept that its simply fantasy.


Agreed! They don't publically announce Black Projects, that's why they are "Black". The whole Idea of congress saying anything about a project that is Top Secret/Special Access Required is rediculas!

What's next from these people? Area 51 tours?


Tim



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