Charlie French worked 36 years for Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) and served on the following projects before retiring in 1985.
Listen to Charlie French’s interview:
· XB-51 – An airplane far ahead of its time. Three engines; two in pods from fuselage and one in tail. “T” tail. Variable incident wing. Fast as the fastest fighter (F-86), its rotary bomb bay and door allowed it to make high speed bombing runs. But we were helping Europe recover, so the British Canberra was purchased – and Martin built it!
· Matador – First deployed missile of USA. Boost and jet.
· Mace – Spin off from Matador. Low altitude flight with map matching guidance. This product was also easier to relocate and set up.
· Lacrosse – Designed by Cornell, built by Martin. Boost and glide.
· Pershing – Given credit for helping end the cold war.
· ASALM – (Advanced Strategic Air-Launched Missile) The major innovation in ASALM was the integrated rocket/ramjet propulsion system. A solid-fueled rocket motor accelerated the missile to supersonic speed, when the now empty rocket casing served as the combustion chamber for the ramjet sustainer.
· SLAT – (Supersonic Low-Altitude Target) A low-level, high-speed aerial target to simulate anti-ship missile threats.