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DARPA Blackswift cancelled. Anybody know why?

sferrin

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The obvious answer seems "no money" but I'm wondering if there was anything more to it than that.
 

flateric

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Re: DARPA Blackswift and Switchblade are cancelled. Anybody know why?

No budget.
Poor execution.

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/09/the-pentagons-8.html

Whoa...Switchblade Oblique Flying Wing is RIP, too...
http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/10/the-pentagons-s.html

Darpa Kills Shape-Shifting, Supersonic Bomber
By Noah Shachtman October 02, 2008 | 1:23:00
The Pentagon's shape-shifting, sideways-flying, unmanned, supersonic bomber program is coming to an end.
The Oblique Flying Wing, or "Switchblade," project was meant to produce an experimental aircraft that could travel 2,500 miles, loiter just outside enemy territory for more than a dozen hours and then attack at twice the speed of sound. It was never going to be an easy job; aircraft that do well at subsonic flight are inefficient at Mach speeds, and vice versa. But Darpa gave Northrop Grumman more than $10 million to come up with up designs that might work. The key: Make sure the plan was a shape-changer.
Switchblade would cruise along in a more-or-less standard configuration - with a 200-foot-long wing perpendicular to its engines. But just before the craft breaks the sound barrier, its single wing would swivel around 60 degrees so that one end points forward and the other back. This oblique configuration redistributes the shock waves that pile up in front of a plane at Mach speeds and cause drag. When the Switchblade returns to subsonic speeds, the wing would rotate back to perpendicular.
But someone would actually have to build the thing first. After "more than 1,000 subsonic and supersonic test runs" on the design, Aviation Week reports, Darpa has decided not to go ahead with an actual flight demonstrator. The program "has concluded following the preliminary design effort."
It's the latest in a series of blows for the Defense Department's premiere research agency. A few months ago, the Pentagon brass took away more than $130 million from its current budget. In September, Congress wiped out funding for "Blackswift," Darpa's program to develop a hypersonic plane. Then the Senate and the House agreed to blast tens of millions of dollars from Darpa's 2009 budget, citing "poor execution."
Back in 1945, engineers theorized that a plane with oblique wings – one angled forward, the other pointing back – would meet less resistance at Mach speeds. The cockeyed design would, in effect, give the plane a longer, thinner profile as it shot through the air. Sure, that meant the plane would be, in effect, flying sideways. But the air flowing around the plane, helping keep it aloft, would be much the same.
That didn't mean the jet would be easy to fly, though. Before it went supersonic, the wide wingspan would actually produce more drag. Plus, the lobsided design meant that every time a pilot pulls the nose up, the plane would roll to one side.
What was needed was a plane that could fly normally at first – and then transform once it broke the sound barrier. Until recently, though, there weren't smart enough computers to make the switch. (Or to help the pilots guide the new-jack plane.) Not even Space Ship One designer Burt Rutan could make his version of an oblique-winged plane work. "We just didn't have the flight control systems and computer stability augmentations," Ilan Kroo, a Stanford aeronautics professor who worked on Rutan's project, told me.
The hope was that Switchblade could finally answer those decades-old questions, with the advent of advanced artificial intelligence software and fly-by-wire technology, which replaces a pilot's physical controls over an aircraft with computer code. The hope still remains unfulfilled.

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/10/the-pentagons-s.html
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2031893/posts



:mad: :mad: :mad: :'( :'( :'(
 

flateric

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To my sorrow, I fear that we only see the thin edge of the wedge so far...
 

shockonlip

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I'm beginning to think that we won't invent anything new anymore.
Especially if it takes a number of generations to get it right.

So, it will be done by some people with the dream in their hearts
and the will power to keep their mouths shut until they have it working.

Larry
 

CammNut

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It's all about money.

Oblique Flying Wing did not go forward because the X-plane demonstrator would have cost too much.

Blackswift has been cancelled because Congress cut the 2009 budget from $120 million to $10 million. Congress was not convinced that Blackswift was technically feasible or operational useful.

The bigger problem is that the military is near-sighted in its requirements, and doesn't want to spend money now on technology that it might not need - and will not be ready - until 10 or 20 years from now.

The USAF wants the Next Generation Bomber and daren't make a case for the Next Next Generation Bomber for fear Congress will cut the funding for NGB, believing something better is around the corner.

So when Congress asks the "warfighter" whether putting money into Blackswift makes sense, they can't come up with a compelling reason to spend the money now on something that might pay off...some time.

Sadly, the money required to build and fly either OFW or Blackswift is a fraction of what the DoD spends each and every day of the year.
 

sferrin

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CammNut said:
It's all about money.

Oblique Flying Wing did not go forward because the X-plane demonstrator would have cost too much.

Blackswift has been cancelled because Congress cut the 2009 budget from $120 million to $10 million. Congress was not convinced that Blackswift was technically feasible or operational useful.

The bigger problem is that the military is near-sighted in its requirements, and doesn't want to spend money now on technology that it might not need - and will not be ready - until 10 or 20 years from now.

The USAF wants the Next Generation Bomber and daren't make a case for the Next Next Generation Bomber for fear Congress will cut the funding for NGB, believing something better is around the corner.

So when Congress asks the "warfighter" whether putting money into Blackswift makes sense, they can't come up with a compelling reason to spend the money now on something that might pay off...some time.

Sadly, the money required to build and fly either OFW or Blackswift is a fraction of what the DoD spends each and every day of the year.

Makes you wonder what DARPA could do with a fraction of the $110 billion (with a "B") in bribes congress required to push through the bailout. :mad:
 

XP67_Moonbat

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To quote the freerepublic article "In a strictly military, short-term sense, the Washington beancounters are probably right; the Blackswift is in some ways a mad pork-hungry aerospace project of little use."


I bring you an interesting summary of hypersonic flight, 2005 vintage.

research.maxwell.af.mil/papers/ay2005/saas/Johnson.pdf

I noticed the recurring point that the USAF couldn't find a mission for some of the previous projects, thus leading to their cancellation. Sound familiar? Man, hypersonics have a hard time. The current financial crisis isn't helping much either. At least we still have the X-51 program to look forward to.


Moonbat
 

Hoo-2b-2day

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Those of you who yearn for futeristic high tech equipment are probably in for a lean time in the next few years. Though the worlds economic problems will cut the $'s right down the real problem is that the USA in bogged down in two expensive but relativelly low tech wars for which it needs infantry and their supporting equipment body armour, APC's troop lift helecopters etc more than the high tech equipment the USAF is used to buying. In Afganastan and Iraq the AH-64 is a far more edffective weapon than anthing like a B-2, F-35 or stuff like the Blackswift. When at war you spend your money on what is needed for that war first and what is left go's towards future technology. With the USA's current economic meltdown there isnt any left over and that is why so many major projects have been and will continue to be cancelled.

It will be intersting to see if China takes advantage of this situation to get a military technological advantage over the USA, NATO and the Russian Federation.
 

flateric

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Hoo-2b-2day said:
SA in bogged down in two expensive but relativelly low tech wars

Aren't daily spendings for these wars much more than DARPA 2009 budget cuts?

Hoo-2b-2day said:
It will be intersting to see if China takes advantage of this situation to get a military technological advantage over the USA, NATO and the Russian Federation.

With all my respect to the nation, hardly doubt so...they just will not have something as example they can make a copy of...

Well, Blackswift was a demonstrator of FALCON critical technologies...that lefts very mixing thoughts about FALCON future itself...
 

Hoo-2b-2day

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Flateric,

One project may not be that much but when you add up all the projects being cancelled or cut back, and there will be many that none of us will have ever heard of, it all adds up to very significant amounts, espescially to the voting populace who want better body armour for their boys in combat now.

Also regarding your comments about China - they sorta ring a bell in regard another Asian county in the late 1930's who gave the weatern powers a rather rude shock in 1941.

We may see some copied tachnology today, but the money China is earning from the consumers in the rest of the world is plenty enough for some serious R & D in many fields including military. They have the people, they have the money and the desire - China will become a major designer and producer of advanced aerospace technology, it is no longer maybe just how soon.

Within the intelligence communities of many nation China is expected to be the big mover in the next 10-20 years as both an economic and military power.
 

airrocket

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China is feeling the pain as well. This is a world wide economic boondoggle. The FEDS bailout paybacks could (deep six it) freeze military hypersonic tech for decades. Once Obama's anti-capital tax policies are unleashed on our small businesses (adding insult to injury) the final nail will have been driven. And the unemployment hits I doubt that China will be getting rich off the US consumer anymore. Ya know I figured Obama would most likely kill those types of military projects even the economy was good. I hope there is a lot old stuff for us to drool over. I fear the worst is yet to come and we won't see much else in the way sexy hyper projects for decades.
 

Orionblamblam

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airrocket said:
I fear the worst is yet to come and we won't see much else in the way sexy hyper projects for decades.

There are two basic reasons for hypersonics:
1) Passenger transports
2) Military vehicles

As to 1), that's never made economic sense. If an SST can't make it, an HST sure as hell can't.

As to 2), masive changes in technologies for warfare tend to be driven by threats of the enemy having the same or better. Since nobody seems to have made hypersonic airbreathers practical, there's seemingly not much drive for such things.

Of course, the main driver for military technological development is actual war, and not much drives war quite like economic failure. So a socialist administration in Washington D.C. might be just the thing...
 

airrocket

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Blackswift demise...looks offical

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3A27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3Ab47b5367-e89d-4b6d-bd47-5e05016f7e32
 

dannydale

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Oh no! Why oh why does every last hypersonic development program post-X15 get this treatment? Dynasoar, NASP, now Blackswift. WTF!?
 

XP67_Moonbat

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Because there's just certain something about those projects that get our blood going, that's why. I know you many of you here on Secret projects will agree. I guess hypersonics and spaceplanes just have this appeal to them that fires up the imagination for many of us (me, I was practically born with a little Space Shuttle in my hand). That's why.

Unfortunately it's leaders without that same imagination who control the budget and you know the old adage about, "no Buck Rogers". Although guven the shaky ground of curent events right now, Blackswift's demise is totally understandable.

All we have left is fancy graphics and artwork of all those past projects and the small hope that X-51 doesn't bite the bullet. And that tiny hope that the future won't be so hard on hypersonics. Time will tell.

Moonbat
 

XP67_Moonbat

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Here's an also-ran, the Nothrop-Grumman contender for Blackswift http://tinyurl.com/4oehcu
 

flateric

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XP67_Moonbat said:
Here's an also-ran, the Nothrop-Grumman contender for Blackswift.

This is, actually, Northrop Grumman's [corrected - Flateric] entry in ill-fated X-43B from 2004
 

shockonlip

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flateric said:
XP67_Moonbat said:
Here's an also-ran, the Nothrop-Grumman contender for Blackswift.

This is, actually, Boeing's entry in ill-fated X-43B from 2004

Moonbat or Flateric, what's the paper number? (if you know it).
Thanks.
 

flateric

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NASA HYPERSONIC FLIGHT DEMONSTRATORS — OVERVIEW, STATUS, AND FUTURE PLANS
by Paul L. Moses, Vincent L. Rausch, Luat T. Nguyen, and Jeryl R. Hill
NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, USA
54th International Astronautical Congress of the International Astronautical Federation,
the International Academy of Astronautics, and the International Institute of Space Law
29 September - 3 October 2003, Bremen, Germany
AIAA IAC-03-V.6.01
 

flateric

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Damn, this is NORTHROP GRUMMAN's entry
 

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