New Head Skunk for Lockheed Martin

John Clark, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics vice president for engineering and technology, will take over the company’s Advanced Development Programs division, or “Skunk Works,” on April 4, the company announced.

Clark, a 23-year employee of Lockheed, succeeds Jeff Babione, who has headed Skunk Works since 2016, and is retiring.

Clark supervised 8,000 engineers and worked on “technical concepts for products and processes” in his previous position. He was also Skunk Works’ vice president of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and unmanned aircraft, which Lockheed aeronautics executive vice president Greg Ulmer said will be a major push for the company in the coming years.

In this role, Clark “focused on the modernization and sustainment” of ISR and unmanned platforms, such as the U-2 and secret RQ-170, as well as battle management and command and control.

Babione oversaw significant increases in the Skunk Works portfolio and workforce, as well as a modern expansion of the unit’s factories and facilities in Palmdale, Calif. Babione had previously served as chief engineer on the F-22 program—which received the Collier Trophy—as program manager for the F-35 and supervisor of Lockheed’s fighter portfolio, including the F-16, F-22, T-50 and F-2. He previously worked on the YF-22 concept demonstrator as an employee of Boeing.