The Lockheed Corporation was an American aerospace company. Lockheed was founded in 1926 and later merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin in 1995. The founder, Allan Lockheed, had earlier founded the similarly named but otherwise unrelated Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company, which was operational from 1912 through 1920.
|Fate||Merged with Martin Marietta|
Allan Loughead and his brother Malcolm Loughead had operated an earlier aircraft company, Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company, which was operational from 1912 to 1920. The company built and operated aircraft for paying passengers on sightseeing tours in California and had developed a prototype for the civil market, but folded in 1920 due to the flood of surplus aircraft deflating the market after World War I. Allan went into the real estate market while Malcolm had meanwhile formed a successful company marketing brake systems for automobiles.
In 1926, Allan Lockheed, John Northrop, Kenneth Kay and Fred Keeler secured funding to form the Lockheed Aircraft Company in Hollywood (the spelling was changed phonetically to prevent mispronunciation). This new company utilized some of the same technology originally developed for the Model S-1 to design the Vega Model. In March 1928, the company relocated to Burbank, California, and by year's end reported sales exceeding one million dollars. From 1926 to 1928 the company produced over 80 aircraft and employed more than 300 workers who by April 1929 were building five aircraft per week. In July 1929, majority shareholder Fred Keeler sold 87% of the Lockheed Aircraft Company to Detroit Aircraft Corporation. In August 1929, Allan Loughead resigned.
The Great Depression ruined the aircraft market, and Detroit Aircraft went bankrupt. A group of investors headed by brothers Robert and Courtland Gross, and Walter Varney, bought the company out of receivership in 1932. The syndicate bought the company for a mere $40,000 ($660,000 in 2011). Ironically, Allan Loughead himself had planned to bid for his own company, but had raised only $50,000 ($824,000), which he felt was too small a sum for a serious bid.
In 1934, Robert E. Gross was named chairman of the new company, the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, which was headquartered at what is now the airport in Burbank, California. His brother Courtlandt S. Gross was a co-founder and executive, succeeding Robert as chairman following his death in 1961. The company was named the Lockheed Corporation in 1977.
The first successful construction that was built in any number (141 aircraft) was the Vega first built in 1927, best known for its several first- and record-setting flights by, among others, Amelia Earhart, Wiley Post, and George Hubert Wilkins. In the 1930s, Lockheed spent $139,400 ($2.29 million) to develop the Model 10 Electra, a small twin-engined transport. The company sold 40 in the first year of production. Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, flew it in their failed attempt to circumnavigate the world in 1937. Subsequent designs, the Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior and the Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra expanded their market.
The Lockheed Model 14 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. Its primary role was submarine hunting. The Model 14 Super Electra were sold abroad, and more than 100 were license-built in Japan for use by the Imperial Japanese Army.
At the beginning of World War II, Lockheed – under the guidance of Clarence (Kelly) Johnson, who is considered one of the best-known American aircraft designers – answered a specification for an interceptor by submitting the P-38 Lightning fighter aircraft, a twin-engined, twin-boom design. The P-38 was the only American fighter aircraft in production throughout American involvement in the war, from Pearl Harbor to Victory over Japan Day. It filled ground-attack, air-to-air, and even strategic bombing roles in all theaters of the war in which the United States operated. The P-38 was responsible for shooting down more Japanese aircraft than any other U.S. Army Air Forces type during the war; it is particularly famous for being the aircraft type that shot down Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's airplane.
The Lockheed Vega factory was located next to Burbank's Union Airport which it had purchased in 1940. During the war, the entire area was camouflaged to fool enemy aerial reconnaissance. The factory was hidden beneath a huge burlap tarpaulin painted to depict a peaceful semi-rural neighborhood, replete with rubber automobiles. Hundreds of fake trees, shrubs, buildings, and even fire hydrants were positioned to give a three-dimensional appearance. The trees and shrubs were created from chicken wire treated with an adhesive and covered with feathers to provide a leafy texture.
Lockheed ranked tenth among United States corporations in the value of wartime production contracts. All told, Lockheed and its subsidiary Vega produced 19,278 aircraft during World War II, representing six percent of war production, including 2,600 Venturas, 2,750 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers (built under license from Boeing), 2,900 Hudson bombers, and 9,000 Lightnings.
During World War II, Lockheed, in cooperation with Trans-World Airlines (TWA), had developed the L-049 Constellation, a radical new airliner capable of flying 43 passengers between New York and London at a speed of 300 mph (480 km/h) in 13 hours.
Once the Constellation (nicknamed Connie) went into production, the military received the first production models; after the war, the airlines received their original orders, giving Lockheed more than a year's head-start over other aircraft manufacturers in what was easily foreseen as the post-war modernization of civilian air travel. The Constellations' performance set new standards which transformed the civilian transportation market. Its signature tri-tail was the result of many initial customers not having hangars tall enough for a conventional tail. Lockheed produced a larger transport, the double-decked R6V Constitution, which was intended to make the Constellation obsolete. However, the design proved underpowered.
In 1943, Lockheed began, in secrecy, development of a new jet fighter at its Burbank facility. This fighter, the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, became the first American jet fighter to score a kill. It also recorded the first jet-to-jet aerial kill, downing a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 in Korea, although by this time the F-80 (as it was redesignated in June 1948) was already considered obsolete.
Starting with the P-80, Lockheed's secret development work was conducted by its Advanced Development Division, more commonly known as the Skunk works. The name was taken from Al Capp's comic strip Li'l Abner. This organization has become famous and spawned many successful Lockheed designs, including the U-2 (late 1950s), SR-71 Blackbird (1962) and F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter (1978). The Skunk Works often created high-quality designs in a short time and sometimes with limited resources.
In 1954, the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, a durable four-engined transport, flew for the first time. This type remains in production today. In 1956, Lockheed received a contract for the development of the Polaris Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM); it would be followed by the Poseidon and Trident nuclear missiles. Lockheed developed the F-104 Starfighter in the late 1950s, the world's first Mach 2 fighter jet. In the early 1960s, the company introduced the C-141 Starlifter four-engine jet transport.
During the 1960s, Lockheed began development for two large aircraft: the C-5 Galaxy military transport and the L-1011 TriStar wide-body civil airliner. Both projects encountered delays and cost overruns. The C-5 was built to vague initial requirements and suffered from structural weaknesses, which Lockheed was forced to correct at its own expense. The TriStar competed for the same market as the McDonnell Douglas DC-10; delays in Rolls-Royce engine development caused the TriStar to fall behind the DC-10. The C-5 and L-1011 projects, the canceled U.S. Army AH-56 Cheyenne helicopter program, and embroiled shipbuilding contracts caused Lockheed to lose large sums of money during the 1970s.
Drowning in debt, in 1971 Lockheed (then the largest US defense contractor) asked the US government for a loan guarantee, to avoid insolvency. The measure was hotly debated in the US Senate. The chief antagonist was Senator William Proxmire (D-Wis), the nemesis of Lockheed and its chairman, Daniel J. Haughton. Following a fierce debate, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of the measure (August 1971). Lockheed finished paying off the $1.4 billion loan in 1977, along with about $112.22 million in loan guarantee fees.
The Lockheed bribery scandals were a series of illegal bribes and contributions made by Lockheed officials from the late 1950s to the 1970s. In late 1975 and early 1976, a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate led by Senator Frank Church concluded that members of the Lockheed board had paid members of friendly governments to guarantee contracts for military aircraft. In 1976, it was publicly revealed that Lockheed had paid $22 million in bribes to foreign officials in the process of negotiating the sale of aircraft including the F-104 Starfighter, the so-called Deal of the Century.
The scandal caused considerable political controversy in West Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Japan. In the US, the scandal led to passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and nearly led to the ailing corporation's downfall (it was already struggling due to the poor sales of the L-1011 airliner). Haughton resigned his post as chairman.
In the late 1980s, leveraged buyout specialist Harold Simmons conducted a widely publicized but unsuccessful takeover attempt on the Lockheed Corporation, having gradually acquired almost 20 percent of its stock. Lockheed was attractive to Simmons because one of its primary investors was the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), the pension fund of the state of California. At the time, the New York Times said, "Much of Mr. Simmons's interest in Lockheed is believed to stem from its pension plan, which is over funded by more than $1.4 billion. Analysts said he might want to liquidate the plan and pay out the excess funds to shareholders, including himself." Citing the mismanagement by its chairman, Daniel M. Tellep, Simmons stated a wish to replace its board with a slate of his own choosing, since he was the largest investor. His board nominations included former Texas Senator John Tower, the onetime chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Admiral Elmo Zumwalt Jr., a former Chief of Naval Operations. Simmons had first begun accumulating Lockheed stock in early 1989 when deep Pentagon cuts to the defense budget had driven down prices of military contractor stocks, and analysts had not believed he would attempt the takeover since he was also at the time pursuing control of Georgia Gulf.
Lockheed's operations were divided between several groups and divisions, many of which continue to operate within Lockheed
A partial listing of aircraft and other vehicles produced by Lockheed.
Convair, previously Consolidated Vultee, was an American aircraft manufacturing company that later expanded into rockets and spacecraft. The company was formed in 1943 by the merger of Consolidated Aircraft and Vultee Aircraft. In 1953 it was purchased by General Dynamics, and operated as their Convair Division for most of its corporate history.
Convair is best known for its military aircraft; it produced aircraft such as the Convair B-36 Peacemaker, the F-102 Delta Dagger, the F-106 Delta Dart, and the B-58 Hustler bombers. It also manufactured the first Atlas rockets, including the rockets that were used for the manned orbital flights of Project Mercury. The company's subsequent Atlas-Centaur design continued this success and derivatives of the design remain in use as of 2019.
The company also entered the jet airliner business with its Convair 880 and Convair 990 designs. These were smaller than contemporary aircraft like the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8, but somewhat faster than either. This combination of features failed to find a profitable niche and the company exited the airliner design business. However, the manufacturing capability built up for these projects proved very profitable and the company became a major subcontractor for airliner fuselages.
In 1994 most of the company's divisions were sold by General Dynamics to McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed, with the remaining components deactivated in 1996.James W. Plummer
James W. Plummer (January 29, 1920 – January 16, 2013) was an engineer who served as the fifth Director of the National Reconnaissance Office. Plummer was the first Director NRO to come from private industry. He previously served as the Lockheed Corporation program manager for the CORONA and LANYARD imaging systems. Plummer focused on developing the second generation of U.S. satellites – the electro-optical systems. He earned a master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland in 1953. In 2005 he received the Charles Stark Draper Prize for his contributions to the CORONA project. He died at Medford, Oregon in 2013. He was 92.Lockheed AQM-60 Kingfisher
The AQM-60 Kingfisher, originally designated XQ-5, was a target drone version of the USAF's X-7 test aircraft built by the Lockheed Corporation. The aircraft was designed by Kelly Johnson, the designer who later went on to create the Lockheed A-12 and its relatives, such as the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird and Lockheed YF-12.The X-7's development began in 1946 after a request from the USAF for a Mach 3 unmanned aerial vehicle for test purposes. This unmanned test craft eventually evolved into the Kingfisher, which was later used to test anti-missile systems such as the MIM-3 Nike Ajax, SAM-A-25/MIM-14 Nike Hercules, and IM-99/CIM-10.The Kingfisher was capable of evading the vast majority of weapons systems it was used to test, despite the systems being designed to destroy hypersonic missiles in flight. This created a significant amount of embarrassment at the USAF, resulting in considerable political fallout, which led to the eventual discontinuation of production in 1959 and the cancellation of the project entirely in the mid-1960s.The engine developed for the AQM-60 was later modified for use on a long range nuclear tipped ramjet called the CIM-10 Bomarc, which was used as a nationwide defense against nuclear bombers during the 1960s and early 1970s. An endurance variant of the same engine was produced in order to be used in the Lockheed D-21, which was designed to be launched off the back of a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird mothership or from under the wing of a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress nuclear bomber.Lockheed Missiles and Space Company
Lockheed Missiles and Space Company (LMSC) was a unit of the Lockheed Corporation "Missiles, Space, and Electronics Systems Group." LMSC was started by Willis Hawkins who served as its president. After Lockheed merged with Martin-Marietta the unit became known as "Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space". Located in Sunnyvale, California adjacent to Moffett Field, it operated a major satellite development and manufacturing plant.Lockheed Saturn
The Lockheed Model 75 Saturn was a small feeder airliner produced by the Lockheed Corporation in the mid-1940s. Lockheed announced the project on November 19, 1944. The design team, led by Don Palmer, created a high-wing, twin-engine monoplane with 14 seats and a top speed of 228 mph (367 km/h). Lockheed touted the Saturn as an airliner to service small towns with limited airport facilities and could take on passengers and cargo without ramps or stairs.Tony LeVier piloted the first flight on June 17, 1947. Lockheed had received 500 conditional orders for this aircraft, priced at $85,000 each. But, by the time the design was completed, the selling price had risen to $100,000 and these orders had been cancelled, with war surplus C-47s filling the same market at a quarter the price. Lockheed lost $6 million from the development of the two prototypes, which were scrapped in 1948.Lockheed Senior Peg
The Lockheed Senior Peg was an experimental design for a stealth aircraft by the Lockheed Corporation together with Rockwell International that competed with and lost to a design by Northrop (Senior Ice), which would eventually become the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit. It was created as part of the Advanced Technology Bomber competition, which started in 1979. It resembles a larger F-117 Nighthawk.Lockheed X-17
The Lockheed X-17 was a three-stage solid-fuel research rocket to test the effects of high mach atmospheric reentry. The first stage of the X-17 carried the rocket to a height of 17 miles (27 km) before burning out. The rocket would then coast on momentum to about 100 miles (160 km) before nosing down for reentry. The second stage engine would then fire before jettisoning and igniting the third and final stage. On April 24, 1957, an X-17 reached a speed of 9,000 miles per hour (14,000 km/h) at Patrick AFB. Ultimately the X-17 would be travelling towards Earth at up to Mach 14.5.
The X-17 was also used as the booster for the Operation Argus series of three high-altitude nuclear tests conducted in the South Atlantic in 1958.Lockheed XFM-2
The Lockheed XPB-3, later designated XFM-2, (PB - Pursuit, Biplace / FM - Fighter, Multi-seat), was a proposed American heavy fighter aircraft, developed by the Lockheed Corporation during the mid-1930s. Intended as a heavy fighter and bomber destroyer for operation by the United States Army Air Corps, it failed to win a contract for construction of a prototype, the Bell YFM-1 Airacuda being preferred.Martin Marietta
The Martin Marietta Corporation was an American company founded in 1961 through the merger of Glenn L. Martin Company and American-Marietta Corporation. The combined company became a leader in chemicals, aerospace, and electronics. In 1995, it merged with Lockheed Corporation to form Lockheed Martin.NOAA-19
NOAA-19, designated NOAA-N' (NOAA-N Prime) prior to launch, is the last of the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's POES series of weather satellites. NOAA-19 was launched on February 6, 2009.Ping-Pong (rocket)
Ping-Pong was a battlefield reconnaissance rocket developed by Lockheed-California – later the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company – for use by the United States Army. Intended to give battlefield commanders the ability to gain photographic data on enemy locations, it reached the flight-test stage before being cancelled.Sea Shadow (IX-529)
Sea Shadow (IX-529) was an experimental stealth ship built by Lockheed for the United States Navy to determine how a low radar profile might be achieved and to test high stability hull configurations that have been used in oceanographic ships.UGM-133 Trident II
The UGM-133A Trident II, or Trident D5 is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, California, and deployed with the American and British navies. It was first deployed in March 1990, and remains in service. The Trident II Strategic Weapons System is an improved SLBM with greater accuracy, payload, and range than the earlier Trident C-4. It is a key element of the U.S. strategic nuclear triad and strengthens U.S. strategic deterrence. The Trident II is considered to be a durable sea-based system capable of engaging many targets. It enhances the U.S. position in strategic arms negotiation with performance and payload flexibility that can accommodate active treaty initiatives (see New START). The Trident II's increased payload allows nuclear deterrence to be accomplished with fewer submarines, and its high accuracy – approaching that of land-based missiles – enables it to be used as a first strike weapon.Trident II missiles are carried by 14 US Ohio and four British Vanguard-class submarines, with 24 missiles on each Ohio class and 16 missiles on each Vanguard class (the number of missiles on Ohio-class submarines will be reduced to 20 each in coming years, in compliance with the New Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty). There have been 176 successful test flights of the D5 missile since design completion in 1989, the most recent being from USS Nebraska in September 2019. There have been fewer than 10 test flights that were failures, the most recent being from HMS Vengeance off the coast of Florida in June 2016. The D5 is the sixth in a series of missile generations deployed since the sea-based deterrent program began 60 years ago. The Trident D5LE (life-extension) version will remain in service until 2042.UGM-73 Poseidon
The UGM-73 Poseidon missile was the second US Navy nuclear-armed submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) system, powered by a two-stage solid-fuel rocket. It succeeded the UGM-27 Polaris beginning in 1972, bringing major advances in warheads and accuracy. It was followed by Trident I in 1979, and Trident II in 1990.UGM-89 Perseus
The UGM-89 Perseus was a proposed U.S. Navy submarine-launched anti-ship (AShM) and anti-submarine (ASW) cruise missile that was developed under the Submarine Tactical Missile (STAM) project, which was also referred to as the Submarine Anti-ship Weapon System (STAWS). This missile system was to be the centerpiece for a proposed third-generation nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine championed by then-Vice Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, the influential but controversial head of the Navy's nuclear propulsion program.Vega Aircraft Corporation
The Vega Aircraft Corporation was a subsidiary of the Lockheed Aircraft Company in Burbank, California responsible for much of its parent company's production in World War II. The company was first formed in August 1937 as the AiRover Company to produce a new light aircraft design. It was soon renamed to honor Lockheed's first aircraft design, the Vega.
The AiRover Model 1 was a Lockheed Model 9 Orion fitted with a Unitwin engine, which featured two engines driving a single shaft. The AiRover Model 2 was a new design named the Vega Starliner. One Starliner prototype was built and tested, but the design did not go into production.
In 1940, with World War II already underway in Europe, Vega changed its focus from light aircraft to military aircraft. The company began by producing five North American NA-35 trainers under license with North American Aviation. Production by Vega really got underway with the Hudson, a patrol bomber designed for use by the Royal Air Force.
Vega entered a partnership between three companies (the other two being Boeing and Douglas) (abbreviated BVD) to produce the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Of over 12,000 B-17s produced by war's end, 2,750 were built by Vega. The company also built two experimental B-17 variants, the Boeing XB-38 Flying Fortress and the Boeing YB-40 Flying Fortress.
By the end of 1943, Vega had merged back into Lockheed, having far surpassed its original mission of producing light aircraft.Walter Varney
Walter Thomas Varney (December 26, 1888 in San Francisco, California – January 25, 1967 in Santa Barbara, California) was an American aviation pioneer who founded forerunners of two major U.S. airlines, United Airlines and Continental Airlines, which combined under United Continental Holdings long after his death.
Varney was also one of the most prominent airmail contractors of the early 20th century.
Varney served as a pilot in the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps during World War I. After the war Varney established an aviation school and air taxi service in northern California.Willis Hawkins
Willis Moore Hawkins (December 1, 1913 – September 28, 2004) was an aeronautical engineer for Lockheed for more than fifty years. He was hired in 1937, immediately after receiving his bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Michigan. Prior to that, he was in the first graduating class of The Leelanau School, a boarding school in Glen Arbor, Michigan. He contributed to the designs of a number of historic Lockheed aircraft, including the Constellation, P-80 Shooting Star, XF-90, F-94 Starfire, and F-104 Starfighter. During World War II, he was part of the group of Lockheed designers who designed the first American attempt at a jet plane, the Lockheed L-133.
In 1951, he led the design team that created the proposal for the Lockheed Model 82, which would become the C-130 Hercules, with Joseph F. Ware, Jr. as Flight Test Engineer in charge. Hawkins started the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company and served as President. He was elected a Vice President of the Lockheed Corporation in 1960 and later served on the corporation’s board of directors. Hawkins served as Assistant Secretary for Research and Development for the US Army from 1962 to 1965, where he was instrumental in starting development of the M1 Abrams main battle tank. He retired from Lockheed in 1980, but Lockheed chairman Roy Anderson brought Hawkins back to run the Lockheed—California Company on an interim basis in the 1980s. Hawkins retired for good in 1986. He died in 2004 at the age of 90, after witnessing the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the C-130's first flight on August 23, 1954.
Lockheed and Lockheed Martin aircraft and spacecraft