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Origin of the Skunk Works® Name

A little sidebar before we discuss the origin of the Skunk Works® Name.

Conceived in 1943, the Skunk Works division, was formed by Kelly Johnson to build the first jet fighter for Uncle Sam. Over the years, the Skunk Works division in Palmdale, California, was given a more official moniker, Lockheed’s Advanced Development Programs, but its mission remains unchanged: build the world’s most experimental aircraft and breakthrough technologies in abject secrecy at a pace impossible to rival.

With that mission in mind, Skunk Works partnered with Top Gun Maverick production team to design the futuristic DARKSTAR aircraft for the newly released film.



Erick Schrock, Director Technology Roadmaps, recently gave a presentation on the Skunk Works at DSI. This is first of three soundbites of that presentation.   So, what does Al Capp’s “Lil Abner” have to do with Lockheed Martin Skunk Works?  Watch the video to find out about the creation of the Skunk Works® Name!


DSI became a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin in June 2014, and part of the Advanced Development Program Division.

As “Skunks”, we at DSI push our limit in assisting our customers with next generation optical coatings.

Learn more about our coating technologies.

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Origin of the Skunk Works® Name

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