Skunk Works Best aircraft

Experimental aircraft including -but not limited to- X-planes, from the Bell X-1 to the Su-47

Best Skunk Works Aircraft?

F-117 Nighthawk Stealth fighter
6
18%
SR-71/A-12 Blackbird/Oxcart Spyplane/High Alttituade Interceptor
27
79%
U-2 Spyplane
1
3%
 
Total votes : 34

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KarimAbdoun

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Unread post17 Nov 2005, 18:34

I just put these 3 because they are Skunk Works best performance yet.
Questions:
- 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.
The fighter is not what counts, it's the one who's flying it that matters!
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LordOfBunnies

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Unread post17 Nov 2005, 20:44

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.
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parrothead

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Unread post17 Nov 2005, 21:27

Karim,

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 www.area51specialprojects.com and www.roadrunnersinternationale.com.

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

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Unread post18 Nov 2005, 03:51

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
Roscoe
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TC

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Unread post18 Nov 2005, 03:57

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!
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Raptor_One

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Unread post18 Nov 2005, 05:05

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. :)
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Shaba

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Unread post18 Nov 2005, 08:25

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.
Team Stealth...When it absolutely, positively HAS to be taken out overnight!
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Safetystick

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Unread post18 Nov 2005, 20:21

The YF-22 flew with a skunk insignia on it which would suggest some involvement...
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Raptor_One

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Unread post18 Nov 2005, 22:43

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.
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Bwadwey

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Unread post18 Nov 2005, 23:32

Isn't the F-35 JSF also made in Skunk Works?
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Raptor_One

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Unread post19 Nov 2005, 01:34

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.
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TC

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Unread post19 Nov 2005, 01:57

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!
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snypa777

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Unread post19 Nov 2005, 14:32

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!
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TC

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Unread post19 Nov 2005, 23:27

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!
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JR007

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Unread post20 Nov 2005, 06:58

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:
Burning debris never reversed on anyone…

JR
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