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Skunk Works by Ben R. Rich
Book DescriptionSKUNK WORKS is the true story, told for the first time, of America's most secret and successful aerospace operation. As recounted by Ben Rich, the operation's brilliant boss for nearly two decades, the story of Lockheed's legendary Skunk Works is a high-stakes drama of Cold War confrontations and Gulf War air combat, of extraordinary feats of engineering and human achievement against fantastic odds. SKUNK WORKS is dramatic and immediate. Direct from the cockpits of these astonishing aircraft - U-2 spy-plane, SR-71 Blackbird and F-117 Stealth Fighter. It is a tribute to genius in the unrelenting contest for mastery of the skies.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780751515039
(178mm x 122mm x 29mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 10-Aug-1995
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Ben R. Rich
Skunk Works: a Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed, Paperback (February 1996)» View all books by Ben R. Rich
The former head of Lockheed's Skunk Works reveals the now-it-can-be-told story of the secret airplanes and deep black missions that changed the course of history-from U-2 to the Stealth fighter.
US Kirkus Review » A top-flight aerospace engineer's engrossing reminiscences of an eventful career in the service of the CIA and US military at the height of the Cold War. With a graceful assist from Janos (co-author of Chuck Yeager's best-selling 1985 autobiography, not reviewed), Rich offers an episodic (probably vetted) account of his nearly 40 years with Lockheed's Advanced Development Projects, an ultrasecret operation better known as the Skunk Works (a name borrowed from the Dogpatch still in A1 Capp's "L'il Abner" comic strip). During his apprenticeship, the author (who headed ADP from 1975 until his retirement at 65 in 1990) helped design, build, test, and launch the U-2 and the SR-71 Blackbird, America's enviably successful spy planes. On his watch, the Skunk Works produced the first jet fighter-bomber to employ stealth technology, the oddly configured F-117A, which earned its wings in the unfriendly skies above the Persian Gulf. In addition to Rich's own recital, the text includes commentary from colleagues, intelligence agents, Pentagon brass, test pilots, and others, which puts the narrator's knack for advancing the state of the aerospace art into clearer perspective. While he accentuates the positive, the author does not shy from recalling certain of his unit's turkeys, including a remote-controlled reconnaissance drone that seldom returned from missions over enemy territory; an aircraft fueled by liquid hydrogen (whose explosive power could have blown its users to bits); and a stealth picket ship (eventually sunk by the Navy's missile frigate lobby). Nor does Rich fail to settle old scores with, among others, pols more concerned with their next election than national security. Not one to hold a grudge, however, he closes with some uncommonly sensible suggestions on how US taxpayers could get more bang for their procurement buck in the parlous times ahead. An insider's accessible, informative take on what's needed to get futuristic hardware to contemporary flight lines and launching pads. (Kirkus Reviews)
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