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'The Lockheed SR-71, remarkably advanced for its time and unsurpassed in many areas of performance
The Lockheed U-2 first flew in 1955 providing much needed intelligence on Soviet bloc countries
Lockheed Corporation was an aerospace company founded in 1912 which merged with Martin Marietta in 1995 to form Lockheed Martin.
The Alco Hydro-Aeroplane Company was established in 1912 by the brothers Allan and Malcolm Loughhead . This company was renamed the Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company and located in Santa Barbara, California.
In 1926, following the failure of Loughead, Allan Loughead formed the Lockheed Aircraft Company (phonetically spelled to avoid confusion) in Hollywood, California. In 1929 Lockheed became a division of Detroit Aircraft .
When Detroit Aircraft went bankrupt during the Great Depression, a group of investors headed by brothers Robert and Courtland Gross bought the company out of receivership in 1932. In 1934 Robert Gross was named chairman of the new company, the Lockheed Corporation, which was headquartered at the Burbank, California, airport. The company remained here for many years before moving to Calabasas, California.
In the 1930's, lockheed introduced the Electra, a twin-engine transport. This was the plane that Amelia Earheart and her navigator, Fred Noonan flew on their failed attempt to circumnavigate the world in 1937. The Electra also formed the basis for the Hudson bomber, which was supplied to both the British Royal Air Force and the United States military before and during World War II. It's primary role was submarine hunting.
At the beginning of World War II, Lockheed, under the guidance of Clarence (Kelly) Johnson, one of the best known American aircraft designers answered a specification for an "interceptor" by submitting the p-38 fighter plane, a somewhat unorthodox twin-engine, twin-tail design. The p-38 (also know as the "Lightning") was the only U.S. fighter design to be built for the duration of World War II. It filled both ground attack and air-to-air and even strategic bombing roles in all theatres of the war. The p-38 was responsible for shooting down more Japanese aircraft than any other type during the war and also for the famous mission to kill Japanese Admiral Isoruku Yamammato, the mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack.
Also under Clarence Johnson, Lockheed also developed a less-successful larger version of the p-38 and in 1943 Lockheed began, in secrecy, development of a new fighter at its Burbank facility. This fighter plane, the P-80 "Shooting Star" was the first operational American jet fighter plane, arriving in the Pacific theatre just too late to participate in the war. It went on to see service during the Korean conflict, attaining the first jet-to-jet aerial kill in history, though it was already considered obsolete by then.
Starting with the P-80, Lockeed's secret development work was done at a site called the "skunk works". The name came from the smell caused by a plastic factory nearby. This site has become famous and spawned many successful Lockheed designs, including the spy planes, U-2 (late 1950s) and SR-71 (1962). The skunk works often created amazing quality designs in very short time and sometimes with limited resources. To this day, the term "skunk works" means a place where elite minds develop marvels.
Other designs out of Lockheed included the f-104 starfighter (late 1950's) , the world's first Mach 2 fighter plane, the Constellation and Super Constellation series of propellor transports, the L-1011 tri-jet transport and the C-5 four-engined jet air transport.
In 1954 the first flight of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules took place, the aircraft is still produced in 2005. In 1956 Lockheed received a contract for the development of the Polaris Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM), this would be followed by the Poseidon and Trident nuclear missiles. In 1976 the Skunk Works began development of the F-117 Stealth Fighter.
Also in 1976, Lockheed was involved in a major scandal involving the Japanese Marubeni Corporation and several high ranking members of Japanese political, business and underworld circles. Lockheed had hired underworld figure Yoshio Kodama as a consultant in order to influence Japanese airlines to purchase the L-1011 aircraft. It was revealed that Lockheed had paid approximately $1.8 million in bribes to the Japanese Prime Minister's office for their aid in the matter. The resulting judicial process carried on for a decade, and led to the arrest of the powerful politician Kakuei Tanaka, among others. In Japan the name Lockheed is chiefly associated with this scandal.
1912: The Alco Hydro-Aeroplane Company established.
1916: Company renamed Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company.
1926: Lockheed Aircraft Company formed.
1929: In 1929 Lockheed became a division of Detroit Aircraft.
1932: Robert and Courtland Gross take control of company after the bankruptcy of Detroit Aircraft.
- 1932: Renamed as the Lockheed Corporation, recognizing the wider scope of the company's operation.
1943: Lockheed's Skunk Works founded in Burbank, California
1954: First flight of C-130 Hercules
- 1954: Maiden flight of U-2
- 1976: The Japanese Lockheed Scandal
1986: Acquired Sanders Associates electronics of Nashua, New Hampshire
1991: Lockheed, General Dynamics and Boeing begin development of the F-22, now the F/A-22
1993: Acquired General Dynamics' Fort Worth aircraft division, builder of the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
1995: Lockheed Corporation merges with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin
Lockheed's most advanced airliner, the L-1011 Tristar
Lockheed Trident I missile, introduced in 1979. Followed by Trident II in 1990
Some famous Lockheed planes: