DARKSTAR DRAWS FLAK IN SENATE; LOCAL PROJECT UNDER FIRE.Byline: Jim Skeen Daily News Staff Writer
In a move seen as a warning to Lockheed Martin For the former company, see .
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is a leading multinational aerospace manufacturer and advanced technology company formed in 1995 by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta. to produce results or face the consequences, the Senate is recommending cancellation of DarkStar, an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft the company is developing in Palmdale.
The Senate's version of the defense authorization bill omits $40.5 million sought for DarkStar testing and development. The House of Representatives' version of the bill, passed Thursday night, includes DarkStar funding.
``It's a message to Lockheed Martin that you better fly the thing or you won't get any money,'' said Greg Campbell
Gregory Dale Campbell (born March 10, 1964, Launceston, Tasmania) is a former Australian cricketer who played in 4 Tests and 12 ODIs from 1989 to 1990. , legislative director for Rep. Howard P. ``Buck'' McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, a DarkStar supporter. ``We'll continue to fight for it. Our position will be helped if the testing goes well.''
The first DarkStar crashed March 29, 1996, at Edwards Air Force Base Edwards Air Force Base, U.S. military installation, 301,000 acres (121,805 hectares), S Calif., NE of Lancaster; est. 1933. It is one of the largest air force bases in the United States and has the world's longest runway. during takeoff on its second flight. The crash was attributed to software problems and takeoff technique.
The second DarkStar is conducting taxiing tests in preparation for its first flight.
``Hopefully, we'll be flying in a couple of weeks,'' said Lockheed Martin Skunk skunk, name for several related New World mammals of the weasel family, characterized by their conspicuous black and white markings and use of a strong, highly offensive odor for defense. Works spokesman Ron Lindeke.
The Skunk Works is building two more DarkStar aircraft under a $58.4 million contract with the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, the same organization that initiated the F-117 stealth fighter program in the 1970s.
Wide, flat and tailless, with a 69-foot wingspan and a blunt fuselage only 15 feet long and 5 feet in diameter, the 8,600-pound aircraft is powered by an engine similar to the one used in the Cessna Citation The Cessna Citation is a marketing name used by Cessna for its lines of business jets. Rather than one particular model of aircraft, the name applies to several "families" of turbofan-powered aircraft which have been produced over the years. business jet, capable of propelling DarkStar to altitudes above 45,000 feet.
DarkStar is intended to be the ``eye in the sky'' for battlefield commanders. The stealthy stealth·y
adj. stealth·i·er, stealth·i·est
Marked by or acting with quiet, caution, and secrecy intended to avoid notice. See Synonyms at secret. , high-altitude aircraft is designed to be able to linger over Verb 1. linger over - delay
hesitate, waffle, waver - pause or hold back in uncertainty or unwillingness; "Authorities hesitate to quote exact figures" a battlefield for more than eight hours and cover more than 14,000 square miles.
DarkStar will fly pre-programmed flights, conducting its entire mission without additional commands from the ground. From the air, it will transmit video and radar night or day to ground forces.
While the craft is in the air over a battlefield, a commander also can order its programming changed to suit changing situations.
DarkStar is intended to be more economical compared with other spy planes. It is projected to cost under $2,000 an hour to fly, vs. the $30,000 per hour the triple-supersonic, intercontinental SR-71 Blackbird “SR-71” redirects here. For other uses, see SR-71 (disambiguation).
The Lockheed SR-71 was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed YF-12A and A-12 aircraft by the Lockheed Skunk Works. had cost and the $6,000-an-hour tab for the U-2.