Alan Brown to Receive the 2021 Daniel Guggenheim Medal for Influential Contributions to the F-117, the First Stealth Fighter/Bomber Aircraft Written 19 August 2021

August 19, 2021 – Reston, Va. – Alan Brown has been awarded the 2021 Daniel Guggenheim Medal for his innovation and technical leadership of the design and production of the F-117, the first stealth fighter/bomber aircraft.

The Daniel Guggenheim Medal was established in 1929 to honor innovators who make notable achievements in the advancement of aeronautics. Its first recipient was Orville Wright. The medal is jointly sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), SAE International (originally the Society of Automotive Engineers), and the Vertical Flight Society (originally the American Helicopter Society).

“Alan Brown’s fundamental insights and innovative solutions to the problems of designing low observable aircraft have changed the way aircraft are designed. He is a real rocket scientist and a true English gentleman. Even in retirement, Alan continues to be generous with his time – lecturing, teaching, and mentoring. His dedication, professionalism, and contributions are a benchmark for our aviation community,” said Dr. Paul Bevilaqua, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works (retired) and Dr. Brown’s nominator.

Dr. Brown retired in 1992 as Director of Engineering at Lockheed Corporate Headquarters, where his two principal concerns had been the promulgation of concurrent engineering and stealth technology. He has given invited papers on both these subjects at the national and international level.

Dr. Brown began his aeronautical career with an engineering apprenticeship at Blackburn Aircraft in England (1945–1950). After obtaining a diploma from the College of Aeronautics, Cranfield, in 1952, he worked at Bristol Aeroplane Company as an aerodynamicist prior to going to the United States in 1956. He worked as a research associate and lecturer at the University of Southern California, and as a research associate at Wiancko Engineering Company. Dr. Brown joined Lockheed in 1960, starting in the physics laboratory of the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Palo Alto, California. In 1966, he moved to the aircraft company in Burbank, California, 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 also was engineering manager for the Lockheed group at Rolls-Royce on the L-1011 commercial transport program. He received an M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Stanford University in 1969.

From 1975 to 1989, Dr. Brown was a member of the Lockheed Advanced Development Projects, colloquially known as Skunk Works. He served first as the deputy program manager for the Have Blue low observable research aircraft. He then became program manager and chief engineer for the F-117A Stealth Fighter from initial concept until the first production aircraft was built (1978–1982), and also was director of Low Observable Technology (1982–1989).

Since retiring from Lockheed, Dr. Brown has taught short courses at Cranfield University, England; Linkoping University, Sweden; Georgia Institute of Technology; and, the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He was active in the University of California Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement (MESA) program for middle and high schools from 1994 until 2010, serving on the state committee, and working particularly with Watsonville High School. He occasionally is seen on television on Discovery and History channels in stealth and fighter documentaries.

Dr. Brown received an Honorary Doctor of Science from Cranfield University in 2001. He is an AIAA Fellow, a Royal Aeronautical Society (England) Fellow, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He also was honored with the 1990 AIAA Aircraft Design Award and the 2020 AIAA Reed Aeronautics Award.

Past recipients of the Guggenheim Medal are some of the greatest names in aerospace, including Walter Vincenti, Holt Ashley, Lawrence Bell, William Boeing, James Doolittle, Donald Douglas, Charles Stark Draper, Hugh Dryden, Robert Goddard, Jerome Hunsaker, Theodore von Kármán, Charles Lindbergh, Glenn Martin, Frank Robinson, Burt Rutan, and Igor Sikorsky, among many others. 

For more information about the AIAA/ASME/SAE/VFS Daniel Guggenheim Medal, contact Patricia A. Carr, Guggenheim Secretary, at

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About AIAA 
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit, or follow AIAA on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn.

About ASME
ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world. For more information

About The Vertical Flight Society 
Founded as the American Helicopter Society in 1943, the Vertical Flight Society today advocates, promotes and supports global vertical flight technology and professional development. For 75 years, the Society has provided leadership for the advancement of vertical flight. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at @VTOLsociety.

About SAE International
SAE International is a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession. By uniting over 127,000 engineers and technical experts, we drive knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™. For more information

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