Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A “Founding Father” of the F-35

It all began in junior high
by Perry W.

In 1955, as a junior high school student, I wrote a paper about "what you want to be when you grow up" that I hoped to be good enough to launch my career as an aeronautical engineer. Later, I managed to get two degrees in aerospace engineering and enter the industry I had dreamed about. I spent the majority of my 41-year aerospace career working for Lockheed Martin and its legacy companies, General Dynamics and Lockheed. I did not intend that longevity when I joined General Dynamics in 1967, but once I got into it, I couldn’t give it up. I was fortunate to work with and to know many very fine fellow engineers and aerospace professionals. They enabled my success as an engineer and manager. I experienced several major highs (F-16, X-35) and lows (A-12) during my time, as programs came and went.

The high point in my career was the award of the F-35 production contract, a program I helped begin as a small technology effort in 1993, and which I also helped mature into the current centerpiece of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, and arguably the Lockheed Martin Corporation. I consider myself one of the "founding fathers" of that program. This also satisfied my junior high challenge I think!

Celebrating a high-point in F-35 history