Skunk Works Best aircraft

Unread postPosted: 17 Nov 2005, 18:34
by KarimAbdoun
I just put these 3 because they are Skunk Works best performance yet.
- Is the U-2 stealth? (I guess not)
- Is the F-22 a Skunk Works design?
- What is the U-2's Nickname?
Personally from the above three, I'd choose the Blackbird.

RE: Skunk Works Best aircraft

Unread postPosted: 17 Nov 2005, 20:44
by LordOfBunnies
U-2 does not have an official nickname. It is called Dragonlady by its pilots I believe. I don't believe the U-2 is a stealth design, but now it may have RAM coating on it. I don't personally know. I don't think the F/A-22 was a Skunkworks b/c it was white from almost the beginning and I think Skunkworks is all black.

RE: Skunk Works Best aircraft

Unread postPosted: 17 Nov 2005, 21:27
by parrothead

Actually, the U-2 was supposed to be stealth - they took the frequency of the enemy radar into account when they made the wingspan so it would'nt show up as well. Some experiments were also conducted in the past using early RAM to lessen the signature further. Alas, the U-2 ain't stealthy enough as Francis Gary Powers and at least one other U-2 pilot will tell you.

The U-2 has had several nicknames in the past - Project Aquatone, Angel, Dragon Lady, and I'm sure I could find more out there, but these are straight from the guys who designed, built, and tested 'em :wink: . For more good reading on the Skunk Works, check out and

Not sure if the Raptor is an actual "Skunk Works" jet as such, but I think they had something to do with it :wink: .

RE: Skunk Works Best aircraft

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 03:51
by Roscoe
Negative...IIRC, the F-22 was not a skunkworks program. I don't doubt a few bodies may have been detailed to help at times, but the vast majority of the folks were from Fort Worth

RE: Skunk Works Best aircraft

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 03:57
by TC
Parrothead has it. The Dragon Lady is not a stealth aircraft, but it does have a reduced RCS, through the use of RAM. Don't ask, we'll leave it at that.

The Raptor is NOT a Skunk Works design. I covered this somewhere else, but I'll reiterate. Skunk Works is based in Palmdale, California. The Raptor was designed, built, and first flown at the Marietta plant, near Atlanta, Georgia.

My vote for best Skunk Works aircraft? The Blackbird. No jet ever flew higher, faster, or was further ahead of its time than the SR-71. Well over 4 decades since the Blackbird first saw service as the A-12, the entire Blackbird family is still viewed as a technological marvel. None were ever lost to hostile action. If it flew today, it could still accomplish its job better than any other aircraft (and some satellites) and could still perform its job with impunity. How's that for impressive?

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

RE: Skunk Works Best aircraft

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 05:05
by Raptor_One
Actually, the F-22A is DEFINITELY based on the YF-22A. The "ATF" concept proposed by Lockheed Martin was a Skunk Works design in a conceptual sense and Skunk Works engineers were specifically involved in actual design and construction. I just read the details in a Lockheed Martin Skunk Works book on my bookshelf. Skunk Works engineers were transfered into the main Lockheed aeronautics company specifically to work on the F-22. So while you MIGHT be technically correct in your statements about the F-22A, the aircraft still has its roots in the Skunk Works. There would be no F-22 as we know it today if it were not for the Skunk Works engineers. I'm sure I could dig up more facts on the exact details of the program. Let me know if I've not convinced you. :)

RE: Skunk Works Best aircraft

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 08:25
by Shaba
The F-117A is the best Skunk Works designed aircraft. It has proven itself in combat and paved the way for the creation of the B-2A and the F/A-22.

RE: Skunk Works Best aircraft

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 20:21
by Safetystick
The YF-22 flew with a skunk insignia on it which would suggest some involvement...

RE: Skunk Works Best aircraft

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 22:43
by Raptor_One
There was heavy involvement of Skunk Works engineers on the YF-22. I'm not sure how involved Skunk Works engineers were in design and/or construction of the F-22A though.

Unread postPosted: 18 Nov 2005, 23:32
by Bwadwey
Isn't the F-35 JSF also made in Skunk Works?

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2005, 01:34
by Raptor_One
The term "made" is probably not a good term to use as it's too ambiguous. The JSF is going to be made by a bunch of companies. As far as conceptual design (i.e. "on paper" or in a computer or wind tunnel), Skunk Works may have been heavily involved. I'm not sure about the JSF though.

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2005, 01:57
by TC
That's what I was referring to Raptor-Uno...the operational variant of the Raptor. It was designed and built in the Marietta plant. Yes, there were some ex-Skunk Works toads on the program, but the F/A-22 was in and of itself not an actual Skunk Works project.

They are the primary contractors for the JSF, however.

Coming from the program, had the Raptor been a Skunk project, I'd be torn between picking it or the SR. However, since the Raptor is from Peach Country, I'm still going with the SR for my pick of the bunch.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2005, 14:32
by snypa777
What did lockheed and the Skunkworks have to do with the XF-104 Starfighter? Was it a full skunk works development or did they just have a hand in it?
BTW SR-71 got my vote!

Unread postPosted: 19 Nov 2005, 23:27
by TC
The F-104, AND (Believe it or not) the F-80/T-33 were both Skunk Works designs.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!

Unread postPosted: 20 Nov 2005, 06:58
by JR007
From a very, very, knowledgeable gentleman and his book on the Skunk Works, this quote from Code One magazine.

“Aircraft built or designed directly under the Skunk Works umbrella include the XP-80, the family of U-2 aircraft, the JetStar, the little-known CL-400, the A-12, the YF-12, the D-21, the SR-71, Have Blue, the F-117, and the YF-22. Peripheral programs conceived, manufactured, or influenced by the Skunk Works philosophy include the Model 75 Saturn, the Model 89 Constitution, the T-33 and T2V family, the F-94 Starfire family, the XF-90, the XFV-1, the R7V-2/YC-121F, the X-7, the RB-69, the YC-130 Hercules, and the XF-104 Starfighter. Many other aircraft were modified or upgraded as part of normal Skunk Works subcontract business, including RB-57s, P2V/P-2 Neptunes, and a variety of types for foreign air forces.” Jay Miller.

That should really help cloud up this discussion...

My favorites, be it direct descendents or not, are the P-80, TF-80C/T-33A, F-104, SR-71, and the U-2 that has finally beaten the F-104 for years in service at 50+. :notworthy:

Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2005, 00:38
by VMF-214
This poll isn't accurate, because many of the SkunkWorks achievements will remain in deep secret for large time, maybe they have better things that the SR-71 (sure), the SR-71 is a Legend by Own Right as the P-51 or th B-17.

I agree that the SR-71 was the better product from SW, considering it service, but who knows, if the best plane developed by SW, is a still secret (or not so secret) plane like the Senior Citizen "Aurora", I remember week ago, in some place arround th US, some people reported a UFO, all of these people reported the same thing a very big triangle with some powerfull ligts, when I read the reports (look like a deployment more than testings, due the pattern of the reports), I think inmediately "Ohh yeah, the Kids at SkunksWorks just testing new toys"... :doh:

Unread postPosted: 21 Nov 2005, 02:28
by TC
Yeah, BTW Karim, why didn't you add the T-Bird and the 104 to the Skunk Works list?

The T-Bird outlasted the aircraft it was developed from, and even outlasted jets that it was younger than. I remember when my pops was still in the AF (about a decade before TC was) the big joke was that when the last F-15 goes to the Boneyard, the pilot will fly back in a T-Bird. That didn't quite happen, but it was basically true for the Century Series, and the F-4Cs and Ds...ALL younger than the T-33, a few by over a decade! :shock:

VMF is right, the Blackbird deserves recognition in its own right, but the T-Bird deserves much recognition too. It should've been on this poll.

Beers and MiGs were made to be pounded!