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Lockheed/Martin
Aircraft company/Transport

History

In 1954, the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, a durable four-engined transport, flew for the first time. This type remains in production today. In 1956, Lockheed received a contract for the development of the Polaris Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM); it would be followed by the Poseidon and Trident nuclear missiles. Lockheed developed the F-104 Starfighter in the late 1950s, the world's first Mach 2 fighter jet. In the early 1960s, the company introduced the C-141 Starlifter four-engine jet transport.

 

During the 1960s, Lockheed began development for two large aircraft: the C-5 Galaxy military transport and the L-1011 TriStar wide-body civil airliner. Both projects encountered delays and cost overruns. The C-5 was built to vague initial requirements and suffered from structural weaknesses, which Lockheed was forced to correct at its own expense. The TriStar competed for the same market as the McDonnell Douglas DC-10; delays in Rolls-Royce engine development caused the TriStar to fall behind the DC-10. The C-5 and L-1011 projects, the cancelled U.S. Army AH-56 Cheyenne helicopter program, and embroiled shipbuilding contracts caused Lockheed to lose large sums of money during the 1970s.

 

Drowning in debt, in 1971 Lockheed (then the largest US defense contractor) asked the US government for a loan guarantee, to avoid insolvency. The measure was hotly debated in the US Senate. The chief antagonist was Senator William Proxmire (D-Wis), the nemesis of Lockheed and its chairman, Daniel J. Haughton. Following a fierce debate, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of the measure (August 1971). Lockheed finished paying off the $1.4 billion loan in 1977, along with about $112.22 million in loan guarantee fees

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