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AARS, Lockheed QUARTZ, Tier III, Frontier Systems W570, Arrow, Shadow

Matej

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Having in mind the success of Senior Citizen and T-60S threads, I am starting another "search for truth", now about Lockheed Tier 3 UAV. I realize that after seeing first Lockheed Polecat pictures...

What I know now about Tier 3:

The first real replacement of retired SR-71 Blackbird come from Northrop and E-Systems. They proposed a variation of B-2 bomber called RB-2 with redesigned weapon bay for reconnaissance equipment. McDonnel Douglas proposed a ballistic hypersonic waverider reentry vehicle. Lockheed dusted off its design for the Advanced Technology Bomber competition and began modifying it for the mission requirements being drafted by the Director of Central Intelligence. By the Spring of 1992 several agencies were funding the Lockheed work under the name Advanced Airborne Reconnaissance System and a contract seemed near. For the Tier 3 the Lockheed ATB was almost completely redesigned. Weapons bays were changed to better fit recon systems and their associated apertures, and a host of new populsion and low observables features were added. Prior efforts by the STOVL concept were worked into the propulsion system to give the Tier 3 dramatically improved low speed manueverability for extended sensor coverage and time over target. For the first time Lockheed incorporated "active stealth" features. Active stealth isn't jamming, but methods of deceiving or spoofing enemy sensors over a broad range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Instead of merely absorbing or redirecting radar as previous low observable aircraft had done, the Tier 3 was capable of intercepting the signal and sending back a "phase conjugate pulse" injected with noise - essentially cancelling out the enemy radar system and burying the signature of the Tier 3 in normal background noise.

Loral, Boeing and General Electric signed on as team members before work began on subscale demonstrator aircraft in the Summer of 1992. By 1993 a manned prototype aircraft had been completed and was in test on the restricted ranges of the Southwest. A manned version was used to reduce the risk involved - the prototype was at the time the most advanced stealth aircraft flying, and as a result was one of the most expensive aircraft ever built. Program managers insisted on having a man in the loop after learning from experience with other UAV programs that unmanned vehicles are prone to software bugs and tend to crash and burn (paradoxly it was the destiny of its follower Tier 3- Dark Star). A number of observers reported seeing large boomerrang-shaped aircraft, often flying at "near walking speed".

By mid-1994 the flight test program had progressed well and many milestones had been achieved- though the cost of the production version was much more than the customers were willing to pay. Many sources within the Air Force and intelligence community reffered to the Tier 3 as the most advanced aircraft ever produced- so advanced that if one was to crash over hostile territory the US would have to "bomb that country back into the stone age" to protect the technology used in the Tier 3. After much debate within the intelligence agaencies and recently formed DARO, the Tier 3 program was judged to be too expensive and high risk, and studies for replacements were begun.

The CIA Gnat 750 program was restructered and brought out of the black to provide an interim theatre recon capability in the form of several Gnats and the Predator, while requests for proposals for two new aircraft were let out to industry. The Tier 2+ which led to RQ-4 Global Hawk was to be a high-endurance UAV with little low observable to reduce cost and fill in for the gap in coverage capability left by the cancellation of the Tier 3. Loral's Western Development Labolatories competitor for the Tier 2+ contract was a cheaper version of the Tier 3, entered without the permission of the other Tier 3 team memebrs, causing an uproar in the black aircraft community (it was presented as the Frontier Systems W570 design). The Tier 3- was designed as a low observable aircraft with less range and endurance than the Tier 2+ and Tier 3, while still allowing commanders to have eyes over heavily defended airspace. The delayed first flight of the Tier 3- DarkStar UAV was primarily caused by the reuse of Tier 3 flight control and guidance software for the DarkStar- more changes in the Tier 3 code were required than originally thought.

Everything what I found so far is one CAD Frontier Systems W570 picture. Can you see Tier 3/Polecat similarities? Because I started to think:

1. Isnt it rebirth of Tier 3 prototype or
2. Was the general shape and some systems of Tier 3 used on Polecat?
 

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Andreas Parsch

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Matej said:
Loral, Boeing and General Electric signed on as team members before work began on subscale demonstrator aircraft in the Summer of 1992. By 1993 a manned prototype aircraft had been completed and was in test on the restricted ranges of the Southwest. A manned version was used to reduce the risk involved - the prototype was at the time the most advanced stealth aircraft flying, and as a result was one of the most expensive aircraft ever built. Program managers insisted on having a man in the loop after learning from experience with other UAV programs that unmanned vehicles are prone to software bugs and tend to crash and burn (paradoxly it was the destiny of its follower Tier 3- Dark Star). A number of observers reported seeing large boomerrang-shaped aircraft, often flying at "near walking speed".

What is your source for the existence of the manned Tier 3 prototype? I can't remember to have read such a story (at least my notes about "somewhat less unreliable than usual" ::) rumours about "black" aircraft don't include a manned Tier 3).

... so advanced that if one was to crash over hostile territory the US would have to "bomb that country back into the stone age" to protect the technology used in the Tier 3.

Whoa ... wouldn't it have been sufficient to bomb the crash site back into the stone age ;D ?
 

Matej

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Does anybody have this AIAA papers with info about W570?

Body Freedom Flutter of High Aspect Ratio Flying Wings AIAA-2005-1947

The SensorCraft Configurations: A Non-Linear AeroServoElastic Challenge for Aviation AIAA-2005-1943
 

Matej

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Andreas Parsch said:
What is your source for the existence of the manned Tier 3 prototype? I can't remember to have read such a story (at least my notes about "somewhat less unreliable than usual" ::) rumours about "black" aircraft don't include a manned Tier 3).

Not very reliable. Thats why I created this thread.
 

Andreas Parsch

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Matej said:
Not very reliable. Thats why I created this thread.

I see. Could you nevertheless provide a rough overview of the source(s) for your Tier 3 history? Otherwise, all we have is a tale, with no means whatsoever to judge its viability. Thank you!
 

Matej

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Yes, of course. Sometime around 2001, when I started to write about aircrafts, I found an article written by Dan Zinngrabe: http://members.macconnect.com/users/q/quellish/Tier/Tier.html I asked my friends for a long time and the result was an approximative Lockheeds ATB description (sized-up F-117, single sawtooth trailing edge, longer wingspan, less swept than F-117 but more compared to B-2, V tail extended backward....) but nothing more.

Two years later I wrote articles about UAV planes from Amber to Tier 3- DarkStar and that helped me to realize connections between Tier III, DarkStar and W570. When I was doing some graphics job not connected to aviation, I totaly accidentaly found posted W570 CAD picture as part of advertisement for one CAD drawing program (it is not online anymore, or at least I am unable to find it once again).

I also found, that Tier 3 can be the basis of TR-3 Black Manta fake rumours - tí er 3 and tier 3 sounds very simmilar. Lastly I remeber that somewhere was discussion about if this patent drawing represents Tier 3, but I dont think so.
 

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Matej said:
Yes, of course. Sometime around 2001, when I started to write about aircrafts, I found an article written by Dan Zinngrabe: http://members.macconnect.com/users/q/quellish/Tier/Tier.html

Ok, thanks. While this is a serious article (as opposed to the rant of a conspiracy fan ;)), Dan also doesn't explicitly say where he got his more interesting data (e.g. the rather detailed specs for Tier 3, and the fact that a manned prototype was flown). His source links are all dead, but from their nature it's IMHO clear that they were not the primary source for these claims.

I asked my friends for a long time and the result was an approximative Lockheeds ATB description (sized-up F-117, single sawtooth trailing edge, longer wingspan, less swept than F-117 but more compared to B-2, V tail extended backward....) but nothing more.

Sounds like this one:
http://www.dreamlandresort.com/black_projects/senior_peg.html ?

I also found, that Tier 3 can be the basis of TR-3 Black Manta fake rumours - tí er 3 and tier 3 sounds very simmilar.
This is a popular theory to explain the "TR-3" label (and I tend to agree with it).

Lastly I remeber that somewhere was discussion about if this patent drawing represents Tier 3, but I dont think so.
Neither do I. And patents shouldn't be overrated anyway. You can patent almost anything, and a patent is no indication whatsoever for existing hardware.
 

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From the Skunk-Works Digest mailing list:

Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002 13:13:14 -0600
From: "Allen Thomson" <thomsona@flash.net>
Subject: Origins of Dark Star

I was googling about and found something I posted on Usenet back in 1999.
As things continue to be slow in skunkland, perhaps someone would care
to comment on it, perhaps provide relevant information that has been found
in the past three years.

-Original Posting-

Buried on pp. 77-78 of the 24 May 1999 AWST is an article that might
bear on things skunkish and, who knows, even Area 51-ish.

Long-Term Stealth Project Gets the Ax
by David A. Fulghum
Aviation Week & Space Technology
May 24, 1999, pp. 77-78
[EXCERPTS]

In consolidating recent mergers, Boeing has committed itself to
ruthlessly cutting programs that aren't going to make near-term
profits. One victim is a stealthy, unmanned reconnaissance aircraft
project, most of which is still classified...

Initially, the 15-year long black program was designed to build a
strategic reconnaissance aircraft that resembled the Dark-Star in
shape and approached the B-2 bomber in size and cost, according to
several Pentagon officials. The aircraft was to penetrate contested
airspace... [,] carry a wide range of sensors and serve as a
replacement for the long-lived U-2.

High cost and the post-Cold War political environment led to a
scaling down of the project and the subsequent design of several
smaller, cheaper versions. Boeing teamed with Lockheed Martin during
the redesign on what was known as the Tier 3 UAV. This project was
abandoned in 1992. The stealth design was then shrunk a third time
and built as the Tier 3- UAV, later called Dark Star. [Dark Star was
suddenly canceled on 27 Jan 1999 by Pentagon acquisition chief
Jacques Gansler.]

Pentagon supporters of the Global Hawk and DarkStar long-endurance
UAV programs said Gansler's recommendation came at the Air Force's
urging. The idea is to kill the Dark Star now, cancel production of
the Global Hawk in a year or two and then launch into a new program
for a large stealthy UAV. It would have a 1-2-ton payload and the
ability to operate covertly even when under observation by low-
frequency radars.

-*-

Comment: The part about the B-2-sized UAV being intended as a
replacement for the U-2 (at least the post-1960s U-2) strikes me as
questionable. More likely, IMO, is that its primary task was to
perform reconnaissance over the Soviet Union in support of the B-2's
original raison d'etre: destruction of strategic relocatable
targets, aka mobile ICBMs and IRBMs.

Things pointing to this interpretation are:

- - the characterization of it as a "strategic reconnaissance
aircraft"

- - the timeframe in which it must have been initiated (probably during
Reagan's first term, maybe early in his second one, when
strategic warfighting programs were being pushed)

- - the size, stealth and associated cost, all of which were much
more compatible with the Cold-War strategic warfighting mission
than with simple replacement of the U-2

- - the fact that the mobile-missile hunting mission of the B-2
seriously needed something to provide broad-area, more or less
continuous surveillance. Satellites and the SR-71 wouldn't have done
it very well because of dwell and revisit problems; the big
UAV would have been much better suited to the task.

There were several articles in AW&ST concerning Quarz and AARS in the 1990s. Unfortunately I don't remember the specific issues (read them in a library).

Andreas, can you tell me more about this picture (found once from your site)?
 

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Andreas Parsch

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Meteorit said:
From the Skunk-Works Digest mailing list:

[...] Boeing teamed with Lockheed Martin during
the redesign on what was known as the Tier 3 UAV. This project was
abandoned in 1992.
A 1992 cancellation of Tier 3 somewhat contradicts the notion, that a manned Tier 3 prototype was flown in 1993.

Andreas, can you tell me more about this picture (found once from your site)?

Really, from my site ??? ?! Anyway, it's true that I have the same image in my files, and maybe I once posted it for download in some forum ;). I received it from a notoriously unreliable source, who said that it was an illustration of "Quartz" (or "Q" or "Tier 3") from AW&ST.
 

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Andreas Parsch said:
Dan also doesn't explicitly say where he got his more interesting data.

At business university, we were always saying, that "ability to hide the sources of your information is the first step to success". :D Especially when you are talking about something secret.

Andreas Parsch said:

Yes, its Senior Peg, but I asked it three years before it was declassified. ;)

Regarding to picture posted by Meteorit, I am 100% sure that I saw it before and have it in archive, but after seeing some 30 000+ images (!) I must conclude, that I am unable to find it once again. It was related to advanced sensor platform studied by one of US development agencies.

But this image together with some that I am posting are more in category - "I dont have nothing to ilustrate my article, so I will draw some".
 

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Andreas Parsch

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Matej said:
At business university, we were always saying, that "ability to hide the sources of your information is the first step to success". :D Especially when you are talking about something secret.
Of course I don't say that the sources of classified information should be openly identified.

But you must either claim your info is first-hand (in which case you better post under a pseudonym ;) ) or give at least some sort of source identification (like, say, "a project engineer told me ..." or "I could read some documents ..."). Otherwise your story is indistinguishable from one you just made up on the spot. This may not appear to make a big difference immediately (after all, you could also make up the sources ;)), but it does help others a lot in judging the reliability of you and your sources afterwards. Let's say, you make three claims about Tier 3, and attribute them to a single source. Some time later, claim #1 is confirmed (e.g. by partial declassification). This immediately makes claims #2 and #3 more believable, because the source apparently knew what they were saying! On the other hand, if claim #1 is disproved, the other two are to be seriously doubted as well. In the past, I have experienced both ways (source turned "good" or "bad"), and I'm extremely reluctant to speculate about claims for which no source whatsoever is given.

Yes, its Senior Peg, but I asked it three years before it was declassified. ;)

As far as I know, SENIOR PEG is still officially classified.
 

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Andreas Parsch said:
Really, from my site ??? ?! Anyway, it's true that I have the same image in my files, and maybe I once posted it for download in some forum ;). I received it from a notoriously unreliable source, who said that it was an illustration of "Quartz" (or "Q" or "Tier 3") from AW&ST.

From the temp-directory, when I went there to get something else. :) I was mainly interested of where it came from.
According to AW&ST, "Quartz" was the original vehicle that was scaled back to become AARS / Tier 3 in some sort of joined Boeing/Lockheed program, which in turn was scaled back to become Tier 3-. (And apparently then further scaled back to become the "secret UAV over Iraq", and then Polecat, and...)
 

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I don't believe that it contributes anything new but at least it serves like a curiosity: A small article dedicated to this topic in the Argentinean edition of Popular Mechanics. (April 1995)

Excuses for not contributing a translation but my English is very basic
 

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Matej

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Dronte said:
Excuses for not contributing a translation but my English is very basic

When you have text in electronic form, this should help: babelfish.altavista.com or www.translate.ru/eng

Andreas Parsch said:
As far as I know, SENIOR PEG is still officially classified.

Really? I didnt know that. So the drawing only went from black to the light of AWST?

To Orionblamblam 1: Wow! Thanx!
To Orionblamblam 2: Wow! Thanx!

:) Now I can mark a lot of my pictures as "identified" (some of them are from flateric).

When we have them, so lets find a connections between them. I have relevant (first hand ;)) info only about W570. Loral Western Development Laboratories and Frontier Systems proposed the W570 all-wing aircraft for Tier II+ competition. Skunk Works joined the competition as a subcontractor to Raytheon, because it was not permitted to compete as a prime contractor, because - along with team-mate Boeing - it had been selected as a sole-source supplier to produce the stealthy DarkStar UAV.
 

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quellish

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Andreas Parsch said:
Matej said:
Yes, of course. Sometime around 2001, when I started to write about aircrafts, I found an article written by Dan Zinngrabe: http://members.macconnect.com/users/q/quellish/Tier/Tier.html

Ok, thanks. While this is a serious article (as opposed to the rant of a conspiracy fan ;)), Dan also doesn't explicitly say where he got his more interesting data (e.g. the rather detailed specs for Tier 3, and the fact that a manned prototype was flown). His source links are all dead, but from their nature it's IMHO clear that they were not the primary source for these claims.

I asked my friends for a long time and the result was an approximative Lockheeds ATB description (sized-up F-117, single sawtooth trailing edge, longer wingspan, less swept than F-117 but more compared to B-2, V tail extended backward....) but nothing more.

Sounds like this one:
http://www.dreamlandresort.com/black_projects/senior_peg.html ?

I also found, that Tier 3 can be the basis of TR-3 Black Manta fake rumours - tí er 3 and tier 3 sounds very simmilar.
This is a popular theory to explain the "TR-3" label (and I tend to agree with it).

Lastly I remeber that somewhere was discussion about if this patent drawing represents Tier 3, but I dont think so.
Neither do I. And patents shouldn't be overrated anyway. You can patent almost anything, and a patent is no indication whatsoever for existing hardware.

The article *is* over 10 years old now Andreas, and at the time there was very little out there on this subject worth linking to ;)
Still, take it as you will. The usual caveats about sources and methods apply.
 

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Hi,

I know hat we speak here about the manned aircraft,but for some interest
the heavy lift UAV;
http://www.flightglobal.com/PDFArchive/View/1995/1995%20-%202763.html?search=joint%20heavy%20lift%20aircraft
 

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Matej

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Hesham's post merged with this topic.

After seeing that picture I am nearly sure, that this artists impression represents the Loral (Frontier Systems) W570.
 

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Original Skunk Works DarkStar leaflet
 

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SOC

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Matej said:
Does anybody have this AIAA papers with info about W570?

Body Freedom Flutter of High Aspect Ratio Flying Wings AIAA-2005-1947

I apologize for replying to something posted so long ago, but it's kinda funny...Gregory directed me to this thread after I inquired about the Loral W570. I had never seen pictures online. I was curious because last week I drove one of our consultants to the airport. He also happens to be one of the authors of that AIAA paper. I will ping him and ask him if he has public domain pics he can share.

regards,
Francesco
 

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AeroFranz said:
Matej said:
Does anybody have this AIAA papers with info about W570?

Body Freedom Flutter of High Aspect Ratio Flying Wings AIAA-2005-1947

I apologize for replying to something posted so long ago, but it's kinda funny...Gregory directed me to this thread after I inquired about the Loral W570. I had never seen pictures online. I was curious because last week I drove one of our consultants to the airport. He also happens to be one of the authors of that AIAA paper. I will ping him and ask him if he has public domain pics he can share.

regards,
Francesco


Well, imagine this...
In the early 80s, DARPA's TEAL CAMEO produces requirements for developing high altitude long endurance UAVs. TEAL RAIN is one direction, intended to produce a non-stealthy long endurance platform for communications and reconnaissance, and this program pushed the limits of conventional powerplants to operate in this environment for long periods of time. From TEAL CAMEO's technology development came Boeing's Condor, intended to provide the Navy with a platform for detecting Backfire bombers approaching a carrier group. The mission was transferred to USAF after Boeing self-funded most of it, and dropped the ball.
TEAL CAMEO also defined a requirement for a high altitude long endurance penetrating UAV, to carry on much of the U-2's mission and more. USAF wanted nothing to do with this, but the intelligence community was very interested. Through fits and starts the program progressed until the 1990s. Flight hardware and software was produced, sensors were developed - all at great cost. This was "Quartz". The intelligence community was forced to transfer ownership of the project - which was quite far along - to the Air Force, which stuffed it into a program called Advanced Airborne Reconnaissance System. It lasted a year before it was shut down, though slowly.

At this point, several organizations reached the conclusion that the efforts of the intelligence community and DoD should come together. CIA's Gnat 750 became part of the program (Tier 1). The medium endurance UAV requirement that Condor satisfied was brought back (Tier 2). Tier 3 was a set of requirements based on Quartz/AARS, but barely scaled back. Quartz was not seriously considered for Tier 3 because of cost.
Later this was shifted some more, with the result being Tier 1, Tier 2+, and the unsolicited Tier 3-.

The WD570 was part of a Loral bid for Tier 3.



....or it could all be someone's imagination. :)
 

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Hi folks,

today I found a 12-year old USAF study of a larger version of the Darkstar, called the Strikestar.
It remembered me of reading a few years ago of an article in AirInternational, where a USAF U-2 pilot reported seeing an flying higher as himhelf during his sorties over Iraq during 2003.

Another source:
Aviation week - 6th July 2003 - A Classified Lockheed Martin Unmanned Reconnaissance Aircraft Was Used in Iraq - By David A. Fulghum

Edit: Somehow I can't post the study "Strikestar 2025" as a pdf. :mad:
Just google for 'Strikestar 2025' or 'vol3ch13.pdf'!
 

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flateric

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fightingirish, please note that this is truly notional study having nothing with actual LMSW thoughts of DarkStar development.
Anyway, thanks.
 

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGSYyYTt_7k
 

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...Kids, hasn't it been pretty much accepted that "Tier-3" was someone mishearing "TR-3" when it was overheard in a conversation between two executives?
 

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OM said:
...Kids, hasn't it been pretty much accepted that "Tier-3" was someone mishearing "TR-3" when it was overheard in a conversation between two executives?

Yes, but the other way round. Tier-3 was a real program and "TR-3" probably a misinterpretation.
 

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quellish said:
Quartz/Tier III/AARS was a much larger vehicle with lower sweep. Lockheed and Boeing's SensorCraft (and NGB) designs owe a lot to it.
In fact, a lot like this:
http://content.ll-0.com/signal/signal_e_a000749775.JPG?i=030707113259
Pretty much exactly like this...
http://sitelife.aviationweek.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/6/5/d6ee2a05-4aac-4a37-a541-5e2bb7525a57.Large.jpg


And what exactly is "this"? I am very, very, very, very interested in this subject.
 

flateric

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one of Northrop's SensorCraft concepts
 

quellish

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flateric said:
one of Northrop's SensorCraft concepts

Yup, my mistake. More accurately, exactly like this:
http://sitelife.aviationweek.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/11/9/2b149b42-f83f-4df3-b9a5-7d1d78883350.Large.jpg
http://sitelife.aviationweek.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/10/1/4af76863-4810-4f9f-a178-33933596875a.Large.jpg

Dust off an old desk model, put a sticker on as a cockpit, and you're ready to bid again!

Article here:
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3acfe7ae59-0e54-40e3-a40a-55be78ed725c

The Boeing-Lockheed NGB *is* the Boeing-Lockheed Advanced Airborne Reconnaissance System, better known to people here as Quartz, later briefly reborn in the public eye as Tier III (*not* Tier III-). Well, for all intents and purposes. And Tier III was really just a requirement that the program(s) satisfied, rather than the program itself.

Slightly off topic, but one thing I am very interested in now is wether Boeing has the rights to W570 right now.
 

LowObservable

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Quellish -

As far as I know, what Boeing bought from Karem was the rights to unmanned versions of the OSR concept.
 

quellish

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LowObservable said:
Quellish -

As far as I know, what Boeing bought from Karem was the rights to unmanned versions of the OSR concept.

Karem's various companies over the years made it hard to figure out who got what in the end! It was not even clear if Frontier still owned W570, or wether a previous company had the rights to it.
 

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LockMart might even have a piece of it, since Loral was the original partner.
 

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If the LockMart-Boeing NGB is based on Quartz, at what point did the vastly different Darkstar planform emerge? It appears that Quartz went through three distinct stages in its evolution: AARS/Quartz, then a de-scoping into Tier III, and finally Tier III- (Darkstar.)
 

quellish

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CFE said:
If the LockMart-Boeing NGB is based on Quartz, at what point did the vastly different Darkstar planform emerge? It appears that Quartz went through three distinct stages in its evolution: AARS/Quartz, then a de-scoping into Tier III, and finally Tier III- (Darkstar.)

Actually, Tier III- was pretty unrelated, it's family tree is different than that of QUARTZ. The original design came from another program and was adapted to the mission. One of LM's critical mistakes here was that they tried to recycle much of the software developed for QUARTZ and ATF into DARKSTAR. This was much more difficult than they originally estimated.
The software and VLO was about the only thing that DARKSTAR shared with QUARTZ.
Some of the VLO capabilities developed for QUARTZ made their way into DARKSTAR. The ones that were not brought into DARKSTAR were either too expensive or too sensitive. DARKSTAR was optimized for specific mission parameters that QUARTZ did not share. Rather than being all aspect stealth, for example, DARKSTAR was intended to disappear from observers to it's sides, like TACIT BLUE.
 

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Is it safe to assume that the Tier III planform was a smaller version of the original AARS design? Bill Sweetman (FWIW) reports that AARS had ballooned to a design that was 250 feet from wingtip to wingtip once the requirements creep sank in.
 

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CFE said:
Is it safe to assume that the Tier III planform was a smaller version of the original AARS design? Bill Sweetman (FWIW) reports that AARS had ballooned to a design that was 250 feet from wingtip to wingtip once the requirements creep sank in.

AARS and QUARTZ are essentially the same, yes. Tier III was the first attempt to do QUARTZ without the expensive stuff. Less of the exotic signature reduction materials/avionics, lower ceiling, different payloads. Tier III did not live very long, the unit cost was still way too high.
QUARTZ, as far as I know, never got THAT large. The span was larger than the B-2 but not by much, it was still under 200'. The Navy had a program that produced something that big, but I do not know if it produced anything flying. Since that was also a Lockheed program it is possible that Sweetman was mixing the two up, even though they were very different projects.

Strangely, I am still not clear on wether AARS was a single aircraft or multiple. I have seen indications that at some point AARS included a high supersonic drone as well.
 
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