Tuesday, December 12

Skunk Works

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The book Skunk Works by Ben Rich goes into detail about the development of one of the earliest forms of stealth aircraft. Ben Rich depicts a true story of his role as the head of Skunk Works from 1975 to 1991. During this time period, the United States was in a power struggle with Russia. Both sides sought the best technology to take down each other. Russia had a superior missile defensive system and was able to detect aircraft from hundreds of miles away. It was a necessity that the United States push for a stealth aircraft that, if needed, could bypass the Russian defenses.

                Skunk Works was comprised of many of the greatest engineers, machinists, and scientists in the United States. These people put all of their great minds together to construct America’s greatest stealth aircraft. In order to achieve stealth on an aircraft, the shape and coating of the aircraft must be made so that it deflects or absorbs the electromagnetic radar signals shot at it. Appling a nine year old formula, a mathematician at Skunk Works was able to come up with an aircraft that would be the greatest breakthrough since the invention of jets. Skunk Works describes all the pieces that had to fit together in order to get this aircraft functioning. This including not only constructing the aircraft, but working with the military to get it recognized and purchased.

                Rich is able to show a great deal on what goes on in the military-industrial complex when Skunk Works was trying to develop the stealth aircraft. In order for the project to truly start, the United States military would have to acknowledge it and provide some funding for it development. As head of Skunk Works, Ben Rich had to sell his idea to the higher officials in the government in order to get it accepted. It was important to have connections in order to get recognized by others. In order to finish the greatest stealth aircraft of its time, Rich had to convince the people in charge and show them just how great this aircraft truly was.

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