Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Beginnings of Stealth Technology

These were exciting times
by Dale Ross S.

I am the Quiet Aircraft Association Founder and President Emeritus and a Lockheed Martin retiree. Most of my career was devoted to research and development at Lockheed Aircraft Services, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company and Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratory. I’d like to share two high points.

The first is the Lockheed YO-3A "Quiet Star" (circa 1968 to 1971), which established many aviation milestones, including quietest aircraft, the first use of a Wankel engine for primary power and the first integrated night vision sensor with a target designating laser.

The QT-2PC version is (arguably) the first “Stealth Aircraft,” and is the result of DARPA planning and support. “Janes” described one of them as the first aircraft to survive a hostile environment (Vietnam) by means of low-observables, now known as “stealth.”

Quiet Aircraft were later used in education (Linn State Technical College and the University of Illinois), law enforcement (Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the FBI) and science (NASA). QT-2PC #1 and YO-3A 69-18000 are “Permanent Historical Documents” at a U.S. military museum. They are two of only two in the museum—a distinctive honor indicating they will not be flown again.

I’ve already told some of that story, but you can learn more at, and

The second high point I’d like to share is the Lockheed MQM-105 Aquila (RPV-STD) (circa 1975 to 1979). This story must also be told. The aircraft also established many historic aviation milestones during its development. It was a sensational program. For me personally, the most exciting program of which I was a part.