Since then, the skunk works
concept has been used in business and engineering to build programs that have permission to experiment and try out new approaches.
Another method for accelerating new product development, called Skunk Works
, was introduced by Lockheed Aircraft (now Lockheed Martin) in 1943 (lockheedmartin.com/us/aeronautics/skunkworks/origin/html).
A team in Lockheed's Skunk Works
unit now claims to have made a technological breakthrough that will allow for a working reactor the size of a school bus.
The initial version of the airship, filled mostly with helium, will carry 20 tonnes of cargo, but could easily be scaled to roughly the size of a football field with 500 tonnes of capacity, Robert Boyd, an engineer with Lockheed's Skunk Works
R&D house, told Reuters in a rare media visit to the sprawling facility some 60 miles from Los Angeles.
"Our compact fusion concept combines several alternative magnetic confinement approaches, taking the best parts of each, and offers a 90-percent size reduction over previous concepts," said Tom McGuire, compact fusion lead for the Skunk Works
' Revolutionary Technology Programs, in October.
Brin, who co-founded Google with Larry Page in 1998, said that his attention is now on his company's semi-secret skunk works
group, Google X.
(Langston's article this month on the SR-71 Blackbird, a supersonic reconnaissance aircraft and its revolutionary engine, takes us behind the scenes of the acclaimed Lockheed Skunk Works
division, which developed it.)
Leadford refers to the center as a "skunk works
," and there's an organic tinge to the business model, in which ideas that percolate inside the center are viewed and treated differently from those born of conventional top-down corporate directives.
He and his Lockheed teams, known organizationally far and wide as the Skunk Works
, were responsible for creating some of the most celebrated military aircraft in history, including the F-104 Starfighter and the SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 Reconnaissance Aircraft.
Authors Carichner and Nicolai are both affiliated with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Advanced Development Programs (Skunk Works
) and here share the highly developed insights gleaned from their long experience.
Lesson 4: Realize the Value of a "Skunk Works
Now, however, Skunk Works
Advanced Development Center at Lockheed Martin has announced a radically new fusion reactor design that promises to break the jinx of that old joke.