Lockheed

L5
Vega

L10
Electra

L18
Lodestar

L1049
Super Constellation
 

 

AC-130
Spectre

C-5
Galaxy

C-130
Hercules

C-141
Starlifter
 

D-21
.

EC-121
Warning Star

F-80
Shooter Star

F-94
Starfire
 

F-104
Starfighter

F-117
Nighthawk

KC-130
Hercules
 
NT-33
Shooting Star
 

P2V
Neptune

P-3
Orion 

P-38
Lightning

P-80
Shooting Star
 

PV
Harpoon

R2O
Electra

S-3
Viking

SR-71
Blackbird 
 

T-33
Shooting Star

.

TV
Shooting Star

U-2

VC-121
Columbine
 

VC-140
Jetstar
       

The Alco Hydro-Aeroplane Company was established in 1912 by the brothers Allan and Malcolm Loughead. This company was renamed the Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company and located in Santa Barbara, California.

In 1926, following the failure of Loughead, Allan Loughead formed the Lockheed Aircraft Company (the spelling was changed to match its phonetic pronunciation) in Hollywood. In 1929, Lockheed sold out to Detroit Aircraft Corporation.

The Great Depression ruined the aircraft market, and Detroit Aircraft went bankrupt. A group of investors headed by brothers Robert and Courtland Gross, and Walter Varney, bought the company out of receivership in 1932. The syndicate bought the company for a mere $40,000 ($660,000 in 2011). Ironically, Allan Loughead himself had planned to bid for his own company, but had raised "only" $50,000 ($824,000), which he felt was too small a sum for a serious bid.

In 1934, Robert E. Gross was named chairman of the new company, the Lockheed Corporation, which was headquartered at the airport in Burbank, California. His brother Courtlandt S. Gross was a co-founder and executive, succeeding Robert as Chairman following his death in 1961.

The first successful construction that was built in any number (141 aircraft) was the Vega, best known for its use to several first- and record setting flights by, among others, Amelia Earhart, Wiley Post and George Hubert Wilkins.

In the 1930s, Lockheed spent $139,400 ($2.29 million) to develop the Model 10 Electra, a small twin-engine transport. The company sold forty in the first year of production. Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, flew this plane on their failed attempt to circumnavigate the world in 1937. Follow-on designs, the Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior and the Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra expanded their market.

The Lockheed Model 14 formed the basis for the Hudson bomber, which was supplied to both the British Royal Air Force and the United States military before and during World War II. Its primary role was submarine hunting. The Model 14 Super Electra were sold abroad, and more than 100 were license-built in Japan for use by the Imperial Japanese Army.  Lockheed was delivering airplanes to Japan until May 1939.

At the beginning of World War II, Lockheed – under the guidance of Clarence (Kelly) Johnson, who is considered one of the best known American aircraft designers – answered a specification for an interceptor by submitting the P-38 Lightning fighter plane, a somewhat unorthodox twin-engine, twin-boom design. The P-38 was the only American fighter aircraft in production throughout American involvement in the war, from Pearl Harbor to Victory over Japan Day. It filled ground attack, air-to-air, and even strategic bombing roles in all theaters of the war in which the United States operated. The P-38 was responsible for shooting down more Japanese aircraft than any other U.S. Army Air Forces type during the war; and is particularly famous for being the airplane that shot down Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's airplane.

The Lockheed Vega factory was located next to Burbank's Union Airport which it had purchased in 1940. During the war, the entire area was camouflaged to fool enemy aerial reconnaissance. The factory was hidden beneath a huge burlap tarp painted to depict a peaceful semi-rural neighborhood, replete with rubber automobiles.  Hundreds of fake trees, shrubs, buildings and even fire hydrants were positioned to give a three dimensional appearance. The trees and shrubs were created from chicken wire treated with an adhesive and covered with feathers to provide a leafy texture.

All told, Lockheed and its subsidiary Vega produced 19,278 aircraft during World War II, representing six percent of those produced in the war. This included 2,600 Venturas, 2,750 B-17 Flying Fortresses (built under license from Boeing), 2,900 Hudsons, and 9,000 Lightnings.

During World War II, Lockheed, in cooperation with Trans-World Airlines (TWA), had developed the L-049 Constellation, a radical new airliner capable of flying 43 passengers between New York and London at a speed of 300 mph (480 km/h) in 13 hours. Once the Constellation (affectionately called "Connie") went into the production, the military received the first production models. After the war, the airlines received their original orders of Constellations. This gave Lockheed more than a year's head-start over other aircraft manufacturers in what was easily foreseen as the post-war modernisation of civilian air travel. The Constellations' performance set new standards which transformed the civilian transportation market. Its signature tri-tail was the result of many initial customers not having hangars tall enough for a conventional tail.

In 1943, Lockheed began, in secrecy, development of a new jet fighter at its Burbank facility. This fighter, the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, became the first American jet fighter to score a kill. It also recorded the first jet-to-jet aerial kill, downing a MiG-15 in Korea, although by this time the F-80 (as it came to be known in June 1948) was already considered obsolete.

Starting with the P-80, Lockheed's secret development work was conducted by its Advanced Development Division, more commonly known as the Skunk Works. The name was taken from Al Capp's comic strip Li'l Abner. This organization has become famous and has spawned many successful Lockheed designs, including the U-2 (late 1950s), SR-71 Blackbird (1962) and F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter (1978). The Skunk Works often created high quality designs in a short time and sometimes with limited resources.

In 1954, the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, a durable four-engined transport, flew for the first time. The type remains in production to present day.

In 1956, Lockheed received a contract for the development of the Polaris Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM), this would be followed by the Poseidon and Trident nuclear missiles.

Lockheed developed the F-104 Starfighter in late 1950s, the world's first Mach 2 fighter jet. In the early 1960s, the company introduced the C-141 Starlifter four-engine jet transport.

During the 1960s, Lockheed began development for two large aircraft: the C-5 Galaxy military transport and the L-1011 TriStar wide-body civil airliner. Both projects encountered delays and cost overruns. The C-5 was built to unclear initial requirements and suffered from structural weaknesses, which Lockheed was forced to correct at its own expense. The Tristar competed for the same market as the Douglas DC-10; delays in Rolls-Royce engine development caused the Tristar to fall behind the DC-10. The C-5 and L-1011 projects, along with the (canceled) U.S. Army AH-56 Cheyenne Helicopter program and embroiled shipbuilding contracts, caused Lockheed to lose large sums of money during the 1970s.

Drowning in debt, in 1971 Lockheed (then the largest US defense contractor) asked the US Government for a loan guarantee, to avoid insolvency. The measure was hotly debated in the US Senate. The chief antagonist was Senator William Proxmire (D-Wis), the nemesis of Lockheed and its chairman, Daniel J. Haughton. Following a fierce debate, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of the measure. Lockheed finished paying off the $1.4 billion loan in 1977, along with about $112.22 million in loan guarantee fees.

In 1995, Lockheed merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin.  

Source: Wikipedia