Photo of Lockheed Martin Skunk Works

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Defense

For an exceptional 65-year record of developing cutting-edge aircraft, technologies, and systems solutions for the U.S. Government, including development of unique advanced aircraft technologies critical to the national defense; and for the introduction of operational “stealth” capability that has changed the landscape of U.S. war fighting capabilities.

Frank Cappuccio on the origins of the company

Lockheed Martin began in the minds of three aviators more than one hundred years ago: brothers Allan and Malcom Lockheed and Glenn L. Martin, who were exploring and experimenting with airplanes in 1912, just a few years after the Wright brothers’ seminal first flight in 1903.

From these early beginnings with fabric, bicycle wheels, and glue, Lockheed Martin has gone on to become one of the premier innovators in aviation and defense. Its ground-breaking aircraft include the infamous SR-71 Blackbird supersonic spy plane, the F-117 Nighthawk stealth bomber, the world’s first stealth production aircraft, and P-38 Lightning fighter, which was responsible for shooting down more Japanese aircraft than any other fuselage during WWII.

Lockheed Martin was awarded the National Medal of Technology particularly for its work on the stealth technology that now protects many of the most advanced aircraft on the planet. Its notable Skunk Works division pioneered the design of the Nighthawk, creating the iconic angular design that gives the plane a radar cross-section of 10cm2 to 1 mm2 and enables it to operate undetected—during its entire service history only one Nighthawk was ever shot down.

By Casey Samulski