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Fri, October 02, 2020
On Sunday, Oct. 4, during the 2020 annual meeting, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) will present the J.C. Hunsaker Award in Aeronautical Engineering to Alan C. Brown “for innovative contributions to the design of commercial and military aircraft, and particularly leadership of the team that developed the F-117 Stealth Fighter.” This award, established by Professor and Mrs. Jerome C. Hunsaker, honors excellence in the field of aeronautical engineering and is presented every five years with a $50,000 prize.
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. 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 (1978–1982). 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 Co. 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.
Among his honors, Brown is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the U.K.’s Royal Aeronautical Society and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). In 1990 he was selected for the AIAA Aircraft Design Award, and in 2001 he was recognized by his alma mater in England, Cranfield University, with an honorary doctor of science.
The mission of the NAE is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshaling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. The NAE is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an independent, nonprofit organization chartered by Congress to provide objective analysis and advice to the nation on matters of science, technology, and health.