Vega Aircraft Corporation

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A worker at the Vega Aircraft Corporation during World War II

The Vega Aircraft Corporation was a subsidiary of the Lockheed Aircraft Company responsible for much of its parent company's production in World War II. The company was first formed in August 1937 as the AiRover Company to produce a new light aircraft design. It was soon renamed to honor Lockheed's first aircraft design, the Vega.

The AiRover Model 1 was a Lockheed Model 9 Orion fitted with a Unitwin engine, which featured two engines driving a single shaft. The AiRover Model 2 was a new design named the Vega Starliner. One Starliner prototype was built and tested, but the design did not go into production.

In 1940, with World War II already underway in Europe, Vega changed its focus from light aircraft to military aircraft. The company began by producing five North American NA-35 trainers under license with North American Aviation. Production by Vega really got underway with the Hudson, a patrol bomber designed for use by the Royal Air Force.

Vega entered a partnership between three companies (the other two being Boeing and Douglas) (abbreviated BVD) to produce the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Of over 12,000 B-17s produced by war's end, 2,750 were built by Vega. The company also built two experimental B-17 variants, the Boeing XB-38 Flying Fortress and the Boeing YB-40 Flying Fortress.

By the end of 1943, Vega had merged back into Lockheed, having far surpassed its original mission of producing light aircraft.

Products[edit]

Aircraft designs produced by the Vega Aircraft Corporation during its existence as a subsidiary of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation:

Designer Name Production Remarks
Lockheed/Vega Flying Test Stand 1 modified Orion
Vega Starliner 1 lightplane prototype
Vega Model 40 5 remote-controlled aerial drone
North American NA-35 5 trainer
Lockheed Hudson patrol bomber
Lockheed/Vega Ventura/Harpoon patrol bomber
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress 2,750 bomber
Boeing B-38 1
Boeing B-40 1

References[edit]

  • Francillon, René J, Lockheed Aircraft since 1913. Naval Institute Press: Annapolis, 1987.
  • Yenne, Bill, Lockheed. Crescent Books, 1987.