Lockheed Minion


ACCESS: Top Secret
16 January 2008
Reaction score
Whatever happened to the Lockheed Minion? Likely it was just a design study. Or it went black. Either or, because I haven't heard a peep about it.


  • AW_09_22_2003_1257_L.jpg
    12.6 KB · Views: 633
  • twuav_16_05.jpg
    26.1 KB · Views: 622
There was an article in AvWeek several years ago about it. Basically, it would weigh 7500lbs, carry four or eight (I don't remember which) SDBs, have something like a thousand mile range, have landing gear- and be carried by the F-22. Given that it would have weighed 7500lbs and the pylons are only rated at 5000lbs I'd speculate that a pylon that attached to two hardpoints would be used. As I recall they said each F-22 would direct two minions. So it takes off with two Minions, flies them within a couple hundered miles of a high value target(s), tells them what to hit, and then launches them. They hit the target (with the F-22 providing updates if needed on the way), fly back to base, and then land with their own landing gear. The idea was that Minion would have the smallest possible RCS with the given technology, good range, and a decent payload. Also it would obviously extend the attack range of the F-22 as well.

Here ya go:

The proposed system is a cruise missilelike, air-launched unmanned aircraft, which is able to carry a payload of four precision-guided small diameter bombs or, as an alternative, an electronic attack payload. Engagements would be controlled from the launch aircraft, before the Minion returns to a forward operating base, landing using its own retractable landing gear. The aircraft is estimated to cost substantially less than a Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM).

Fulghum, D. A., ‘New Stealth: Lockheed Martin Has Revealed a New Stealthy UAV’,
Aviation Week & Space Technology, Volume 159, No. 12, 22 September 2003, page 32

Lockheed Martin developed a new class of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that it calls 'minions', according to senior officials within the Skunk Works: the Advanced Development Programs division of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.


Also the Trevor Paglin in his book about the military patches suggests, that there was the predcessor of the Minion called project Minotaur. Hmm... http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,10031.msg93684.html#msg93684
Lockheed Martin je nedavno s uspjehom završio s razvojem nove klase bespilotnih letjelica koje je nazvao Minions. Riječ je o svojevrsnom konceptu mini borbene, odnosno naoružane bespilotne letjelice. Jedna od temeljnih nakana u razvoju Minionsa je želja da se postojećim zrakoplovnim platformama s ljudskom posada poveća "stand-off" mogućnost borbe, odnosno taktičkih udara po protivničkim ciljevima.


"Finished the development?" It seems I am going to write another e-mail.


  • minion UAV.jpg
    minion UAV.jpg
    14.4 KB · Views: 963
The AvWeek article also mentioned that F-22s were suppose to carry one of the 7500lb vehicles under each wing and then launch them when close enough to the target area. They didn't mention how the F-22s were suppose to do that with hardpoints only rated for 5000lbs. Maybe limit the G's when carrying them or using a "shoe" to pick up both hardpoints on each wing? ???
I'd imagine they work a blend of what you mentioned. Addionally, the F-22 is "placarded" to fly different flight envelope limits, depending on the mass, CG location and aerodynamics of external stores.

It'll be difficult to maintain an all aspect low observable signature with them hanging out in the breeze. Perhaps they drop the racks after deploying the stores, similar to external fuel tanks.
Lockheed Martin Minotaur



  • 1_3a531e49cb2652680e38ffdbf0756d17.jpg
    22.1 KB · Views: 422
Reading that Croatian article once again, there is also the information, that they are going to develop VTOL (!) version of the Minion.

Planira se razvoj VTOL inačice, koja bi bila sposobna samostalno polijetati i slijetati.
I Could Tell You...

I was recently reviewing an image of a patch Trevor Paglen displayed in his book, where he states:

Minotaur is a still-classified program undertaken by Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs division, the Skunk Works. Although Minotaur remains obscure, rumor holds that the airframe shares a "family resemblance" with another Skunk Works program called Minion and may have served as a technology demonstrator for that program.

Lockheed MINOTAUR Program Patch - Image

Above is a hyperlink to an image of the program patch Paglen is discussing.

Minotaur - Wikipedia

Minotaur - Image

Longhorn Skull - Image

I then reviewed what a minotaur is in Wikipedia:

- A minotaur is "part man and part bull". Does this imply there's two parts to the system - both a manned and unmanned element? Is the skull of a bull clue us to the offensive part such as an unmanned conventional weapons carrier with an F-22 or undisclosed manned platform with advanced sensors?

- What does the bull mean? The horns are not shaped like the typical hooked upward fashion, but rather look like a longhorn bull, which seems indicative of a Texas (Fort Worth ADP) element. Perhaps the funding source? Would this make it an IRAD effort to capture customer funding, similar to the P-175?

Other items of note:
- Wings may imply an airborne element?
- Black background implies a black program or night operations?
- Green eyes and bulbous forehead create an "alien" nature. Does this imply a program relation to the AFFTC DET 3 operating location?
Minotaur may be more closely related to this:
Larger image of previously posted artist's impression of Lockheed Martin Minion.



  • p1116671.jpg
    61.1 KB · Views: 362

Similar threads

Please donate to support the forum.

Top Bottom