SKUNK WORKS SPY PLANE COMPLETES KEY FLIGHT TEST.Byline: Jim Skeen Daily News Staff Writer
The unmanned DarkStar spy plane has completed its first high-altitude flight and will soon be joined in the test program by two more aircraft, 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. 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 said Friday.
During the Jan. 9 flight 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. , the DarkStar reached 25,000 feet and completed all preplanned flight maneuvers. The flight was the fifth for the aircraft.
``This flight greatly expanded the operating flight envelope In aerodynamics, the flight envelope or performance envelope of an aircraft refers to the capabilities of a design in terms of speed and altitude. The term is somewhat loosely applied, and can also refer to other measurements such as maneuverability. for the DarkStar,'' Skunk Works officials said in a statement. ``This flight demonstrated the ability to update the preplanned mission while the DarkStar was in flight, another operationally significant feature.''
The aircraft is actually the second DarkStar. The first DarkStar aircraft made a successful first flight on March 19, 1996, but crashed April 22, 1996, while taking off on its second flight.
The third DarkStar aircraft has completed all ground system checks at the Skunk Works plant in Palmdale and will be delivered to Edwards Air Force Base this month. The No. 4 DarkStar will be delivered to Edwards in mid-February.
Skunk Works officials believe there is a potential market for 20 to 40 DarkStar aircraft.
DarkStar is intended to be the ``eye in the sky'' for battlefield commanders, transmitting video and radar information to ground forces. 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.
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.
PHOTO (Color in AV Edition only) Lockheed Martin Corp.'s second DarkStar spy plane has completed a high-altitude test at Edwards Air Force Base, officials said.