The origin of “skunk works”
Conceived in 1943, the Skunk Works division of Lockheed Martin was formed by chief engineer, Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, and tasked to build America’s first jet fighter. A prototype of the P-80 Shooting Star was created just 143 days later. Johnson went on to field requests for aircraft with specifications which read like works of pure fantasy. Handpicked teams of engineers were assembled to make the impossible possible. The Skunk Works were responsible for several iconic aircraft, including the U-2, SR-71 Blackbird and F-117 Nighthawk. The name originates from a satirical comic strip called “Li’l Abner” and an area known as the “Skonk Works”.