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Alan Brown retired in 1992 as director of engineering at Lockheed Corporate Headquarters, where his two principal concerns were the promulgation of concurrent engineering and stealth technology throughout the corporation. He has given invited papers on both these subjects at national and international levels.
From 1975 to 1989 he was a member of the Lockheed Advanced Development Projects, colloquially known as the Skunk Works. He served first as deputy program manager for the Have Blue low observable research aircraft before becoming program manager and chief engineer for the F-117A Stealth Fighter from initial concept until the first production aircraft was built (1978–82). From 1982 to 1989 he was director of low observable technology.
He joined Lockheed in 1960, starting in the physics laboratory of the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Palo Alto. He moved to the aircraft company in Burbank in 1966, working on propulsion installation on the supersonic transport and the FX and VSX aircraft (which later became the F-15 and S-3A, respectively). He was also engineering manager for the Lockheed group at Rolls-Royce on the L-1011 commercial transport program.
He began his aeronautical career with an engineering apprenticeship at Blackburn Aircraft in England (1945–50). After obtaining his second diploma (the equivalent of a master’s) in 1952, he worked at Bristol Aeroplane Company as an aerodynamicist until he came to the United States in 1956. He was a research associate and lecturer at the University of Southern California and a research associate at Wiancko Engineering Company before joining Lockheed.
Since his retirement from Lockheed, Mr. Brown has taught short courses at Cranfield University (England), Linkoping University (Sweden), Georgia Institute of Technology, and the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. In addition, he was active in the University of California Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program for middle and high schools (1994–2010), serving on the state committee and working particularly with Watsonville High School. Occasionally seen on Discovery and History channels in Stealth and Fighter documentaries.
Among his honors, Mr. Brown is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In 1990 he was selected for the AIAA Aircraft Design Award. And in 2001 he was recognized by his alma mater, Cranfield University, with an honorary doctor of science.
He has diplomas from Hull Technical College (1950) and the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield Institute of Technology (1952), and a master’s degree from Stanford University (1969), all in aeronautical engineering.