Mention the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works and thoughts will automatically turn to the SR-71 Blackbird, F-117 and Clarence ‘Kelly’ Johnson.

Osprey 75 Years of the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works

Published by Osprey, 75 Years of the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works (ISBN: 976-1-4728-4647-1) is a lavish 384-page photo study that celebrates the firm’s Advanced Development Program, founded in 1943 by Johnson and company president Ben Rich, charting its history from the XP-80 Shooting Star fighter to the still-classified SR-72 hypersonic reconnaissance platform. For an organisation founded in aviation, there’s a surprising breadth of subjects, ranging from rockets to nuclear reactors. Unsurprisingly, it’s aviation that takes centre stage and all projects (at least, those that have been publicly acknowledgement) are covered, with stealth, vertical take-off, unmanned and high-speed designs. There’s even a look into the future with concepts currently on the drawing boards. The photography is stunning, while the supporting narrative is well written and highly informative.

This is an indispensable reference for any aviation enthusiast, which retails for £50 and is available via: www.ospreypublishing.com