Under pressure, Lockheed opens up about secret weapons unit
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of CNBC News/Reuters
Posted: October 23rd, 2017
Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's No. 1 weapons supplier, has rarely felt the need to blow its horn about its secrecy-shrouded crown jewel. "Skunk Works," Lockheed's business for developing weapons outside the company's main chain of command, is starting to lift the veil in a sign of fierce pressure to win new orders and protect its brand. Skunk Works has been celebrated since it developed the first jet fighter in 143 days during World War Two to battle the Nazis. But its logo was kept off buildings and employees were barred from saying where they worked. Now, the company has published a glossy brochure with a 10-point "Skunk Works 2015" agenda focused on keeping costs down, working closely with government, and building prototypes. Its officials are meeting in small groups with all 3,300 employees, or "Skunks" as they are known, to underscore the importance of staying competitive. In one building, Lockheed is using the world's largest gantry machine and 3-D printing to build aircraft. Across campus, Lockheed has a giant airship ... and a compact nuclear fusion reactor that could revolutionize power generation. Skunk Works has survived over the years because it is not only an advanced research arm, but also makes money by managing a few signature programs, including the F-22 stealth fighter and other classified programs, general manager Rob Weiss told Reuters. He gave no numbers.
Note: According to this New York Times article, Lockheed Martin runs a "breathtakingly big part" of the US. This company also paid $4.7 million in 2015 to settle charges it lobbied for federal contracts with federal money. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the corporate world.