Legislators celebrate Lockheed Martin Skunk Works anniversary

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, today honored the Los Angeles County Fire Department for its search and rescue efforts and superior helicopter maintenance while battling numerous wildfires during the 2017-2018 fire season. Photo Credit: Dan Megna (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin)

Two of the Santa Clarita Valley’s federal representatives are seeking to celebrate one of the region’s major defense industry manufacturers.

Rep. Steve Knight, R-Santa Clarita, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein have introduced a bipartisan resolution to honor the 75th anniversary of Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.

The company was started in 1943, during World War II, in response to efforts necessary to fight “the growing German jet threat,” according to the company’s website.

“One month later, a young engineer by the name of Clarence ‘Kelly’ L. Johnson and his team of young engineers hand delivered the XP-80 Shooting Star jet fighter proposal to the ATSC (Air Tactical Service Command),” according to the Skunk Works website, noting the work was started with a handshake, and contracts would come months later. “Quickly the go-ahead was given for Lockheed to start development on the United States’ first jet fighter effort. It was June of 1943, and this project marked the birth of what would become the Skunk Works with Kelly Johnson at its helm.”

Both Feinstein and Knight, who previously collaborated on a legislative effort to stop Cemex from operating a massive gravel mine in Soledad Canyon, recognized the company’s contribution to America’s armed forces with the resolution.

“For 75 years, the team at Skunk Works has been producing the tech, aircraft and systems that have given our troops a generational advantage over our adversaries,” Knight said. “Whether it be next-generation fighters that wrest us control of the skies, spy planes that allow us to watch our enemies with impunity, or other experimental aircraft that continue to push the envelope, the products of their work continue to inspire generations of pilots and engineers. We here in Southern California will always be immensely proud of our region’s contribution to American technological and military supremacy.”

Feinstein mentioned the company’s history of aircraft innovation.

“Skunk Works has been developing cutting-edge technology in California since World War II,” said Feinstein. “From the original P-80 fighter jet to the U-2 spy plane, the SR-71 Blackbird to the F-35, the advancements made by Skunk Works continue to play a critical role in protecting our national security. The more than 2,700 men and women who work there should be proud of their accomplishments and know that our country is grateful for their contributions.”

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