The Vega Starliner at Union Air Terminal, circa 1940
|Successor||Lockheed Aircraft Company|
|Founders||Robert E. Gross|
The Vega Aircraft Corporation was a subsidiary of the Lockheed Aircraft Company in Burbank, California 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 renamed in May 1938 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.
|Model name||First flight||Number built||Type|
|Vega Model 1||1938||1||Modified version of the Lockheed Model 9 Orion|
|Vega Model 2 Starliner||1939||1||Prototype lightplane|
|Vega Model 40||5||Target drone|
|Vega 35||Development of the North American NA-35|
|Vega Hudson||License built version of Lockheed Hudson|
|Vega Ventura||License built version of Lockheed Ventura|
|Vega B-17 Flying Fortress||2,750||License built version of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress|
|Vega B-38 Flying Fortress||1||Modified version of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress with inline engines|
|Vega B-40 Flying Fortress||1||Modified version of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress to gunship configuration|