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Flaming Pumpkin Seeds

sferrin

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Anybody have info on this? There was an article in the 80s (maybe early 90s) about these supposed vehicles. Hypersonic, external burning (maybe scramjet) with a hundred or so nukes. They were to be ejected from the top of the vehicle and were pretty much just warheads which is why they could carry so many. No need for parachutes because of the speed of the delivery vehicle. Saw the bit on FAS.org but it looks like they were going from 2nd hand info too.
 

Sundog

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Aviation Week had the article, I'll see if I can find my scan of it. I seriously doubt the external burning though, as that would be about impossible to control.

My thoughts on the propulsion system of the vehicle is that it is an ATR, Air Turbo Rocket. My guess is it uses the standard or modified turbojet/turbofan engines for low speeds and when it gets into the high supersonic speed range it switchees modes and uses the airbreathing engines to scavenge oxygen from the atmosphere for the rocket propulsion and then accelerates to hypersonic speeds. That way, the rockets and the jets could run on the same fuel (keorsene, possibly) and by scavenging the oxygen(oxidizer) they would be able to keep weight down. I say that because the rear of the vehicle from the midline with what I assume are all small rocket nozzles around it acts like an aerospike nozzle. It's almost a hybrid between a standard aeospike nozzle and a linear aerospike nozzle that was meant to be used on the X-33.

I seriously doubt it has anything to do with scramjet texhnology given the difficulty in controlling the flame in the scramjet engine, at least not as an external engine.

Also, the Aviation Week article stated that the munitions were dropped at subsonic speeds. They stated the vehicles highspeed, IIRC, was just used for transit. My guess is they were trying to make a very stealthy first strike UCAV, but I would think anyone with decent infra-red detection satellites would be able to detect a vehicle like that in transit.
 

Antonio

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I have drawings of this "things" from AW&ST deeply buried into my archive so I add it to my list of future posts ;)
 

flateric

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AWST drawings and NASA Ames WT models of 'All-body hypersonic vehicle' ca 1986-87 courtesy Matej Furda aka Matej
Note that recearch traces down up to 1971 according to this paper
"Turbojet-Ramjet Propulsion System for All-Body Hypersonic Aircraft,"
Mark H. Waters, NASA Office of Advanced Research and Technology, Mission Analysis Division, Moffett Field, California.
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19710005905_1971005905.pdf
 

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Antonio

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You're Great Gregory!

Thanks for the pix ;)
 

Meteorit

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There's yet another drawing, a top view, here:

http://markmccandlish.com/Default.aspx?tabid=137
 

flateric

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hmm
http://dtrs.dfrc.nasa.gov/archive/00000265/01/TM4524.pdf
 

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Simon666

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I think I remember maximum ISP for external burning scramjets are around 200 from the papers I've seen so far. Non airbreathing rockets do way better than that.
 

coach46

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It all started with the article

Secret Advanced Vehicle Demonstrates Technologies For Further Military Use

In AW&ST 1-OCT-1990
 

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coach46

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….and continued with the article

Multiple Sightings of Secret Aircraft Hint a new Propulsion, Airframe Design

also in AW&ST 1-OCT-1990
 

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coach46

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….followed by

Scientists and Engineers Dreams Taking to Skies as Black Aircraft

in AW&ST 24-DEC-1990

(a nice Christmas present, indeed!)
 

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Clioman

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It would be fascinating to corner the AW&ST editors at a cocktail party and ask them just how much, if any, of this reportage they still stand by. It's been TWO DECADES since Scott posted this stuff, and none of it has ever been confirmed. IIRC, it was also AW&ST that 'broke' the story of the Soviets having flown an atom-powered bomber in the late 1950s...
 

flateric

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Clioman said:
It would be fascinating to corner the AW&ST editors at a cocktail party and ask them

you don't need to go to cocktail party actually;)
 

sferrin

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coach46 said:
….and continued with the article

Multiple Sightings of Secret Aircraft Hint a new Propulsion, Airframe Design

also in AW&ST 1-OCT-1990

Well now I know why I remembered it as having external burning. ;D BTW does anybody here know of any actual research done on that (external burning that is)? I'd read about it back in the late 70s/early 80s but heard nothing of it since.
 

Simon666

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sferrin said:
Well now I know why I remembered it as having external burning. ;D BTW does anybody here know of any actual research done on that (external burning that is)? I'd read about it back in the late 70s/early 80s but heard nothing of it since.
I think back in those days they determined the isp was lousy as compared to rocket engines. I think I have seen research with respect to base drag reduction on e.g. artillery shells.
 

sferrin

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Simon666 said:
sferrin said:
Well now I know why I remembered it as having external burning. ;D BTW does anybody here know of any actual research done on that (external burning that is)? I'd read about it back in the late 70s/early 80s but heard nothing of it since.
I think back in those days they determined the isp was lousy as compared to rocket engines. I think I have seen research with respect to base drag reduction on e.g. artillery shells.

something just popped into my head but I'll have to double check it when I get home. Back in the day they were doing work on HiBex or one of the other shorter ranged, more obscure ABM projects they used external burning for side thrusters and demonstrated an ISP of 1000 seconds as I recall.
 

Simon666

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sferrin said:
something just popped into my head but I'll have to double check it when I get home. Back in the day they were doing work on HiBex or one of the other shorter ranged, more obscure ABM projects they used external burning for side thrusters and demonstrated an ISP of 1000 seconds as I recall.
Impressive memory. First I hear of HIBEX. Google resulted in:

http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/Publications/fulltext/golden/11.pdf
External burning developed control forces of more than 33,000 pounds and specific impulses that exceeded
610 seconds. Two experiments with jet interaction produced specific impulses of 649 and 565 seconds

Although that it seems to have been used for control and not propulsion, so I wonder how this translates to the usability of external burning for propulsion purposes.
 

sferrin

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"HIBEX (High Booster Experiment) was a 2-year research project to investigate the
technology of a very high acceleration, short range anti-ballistic missile interceptor, for
hard point defense. The HIBEX missile achieved nearly 400 g peak axiai and over 60 g
lateral acceleration, reaching a velocity of nearly Ma = 8, in a little over 1-sec burn time,
with pitch over from a vertical ejection from a silo to a trajectory of 15 deg elevation. In 2
more years, UPSTAGE, a maneuvering HIBEX second stage, demonstrated over 300 g
0 lateral acceleration and a side-force specific impulse Isp > 1000 sec using external burning,
jet flow control techniques and a laser gyro for guidance. The HIBEX technology
furnished the basis for the Army's LoADS short range interceptor program. UPSTAGE jet
maneuvering control technology has been incorporated into the SDrs HEDI missile."


That's from "DARPA Technical Accomplishments Vol II: An Historical Review of Selected DARPA Projects"

Got it from the DTIC site a couple years ago.
 

flateric

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full text removed from DTIC, but...

http://www.darpa.mil/history-docs/Accomplishments%20vol%201.pdf
http://www.darpa.mil/history-docs/Accomplishments%20vol%202.pdf
http://www.darpa.mil/history-docs/Accomplishments%20vol%203.pdf
 

coach46

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In AIR INTERNATIONAL, SEP-1994, Dr. David Baker wrote in his article

Wizzard Wars & Air Power in the 21st Century

Part One
 

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coach46

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here it comes.

If requested, I have also part 2 of this article.
 

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robunos

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it's in issue OCT-1994

thanks, now i can check if i have it, only my 'Air International' collection is not complete... :-[

cheers,
Robin.
 

vulture

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Hi

This is for any and all members to answer:
An aerospace vehicle - hypersonic - that was featured in Aviation Week & Space Technology, a very speculative vehicle indeed. It has been described as a "flattened football" an "aerolens" and "aerodiamond" capable of flying at hypersonic speeds at the top edge of the atmosphere, flying intercontinental ranges to deliver 121 nuclear RVs on an enemy. I also think it was featured in Popular Science, Jane's Defence Weekly, and Air International. IT's main feature being external combustion.
Does anyone here have images or links to same?

Vulture
 

XP67_Moonbat

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It doesn't exist...but if you really are hard up for that sort of stuff, try the search engine here. Look under "external combustion".
 

vulture

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I apologize XP-67_ Moonbat but too many sources claim that it does - or did exist. Just your word or opinion does prove it does not exist. Plus, I love that kind of "stuff", especially when it comes to highly classified items such as this. I'll believe what I please; but thanks for the reply.

Vulture
 

quellish

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vulture said:
I apologize XP-67_ Moonbat but too many sources claim that it does - or did exist. Just your word or opinion does prove it does not exist. Plus, I love that kind of "stuff", especially when it comes to highly classified items such as this. I'll believe what I please; but thanks for the reply.

Vulture

If you go to a local library, you can find the original Aviation Week article that described it. In the article they make it clear that it is a hypothetical aircraft. The article is from December of 1990.

It does not exist, and would not be feasible.
 

vulture

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OK, everyone has a point of view and their own opinion. Explain to me exactly why it isn't feasible. I mean, I understand aerodynamics pretty well. There are "sources" that claim they have located the patent drawings of such vehicles. Plus, NASA is known to have tested in their wind tunnels, so-called "pumpkinseed" or aerodiamond shapes. You know, some people still can't fully grasp just how lifting bodies work in the first place - the pumpkinseed shape is just another lifting body shape, though unusual. As for the external burning combustion technique described, that portion of such as system is very feasible.

Vulture
 
I

Ian33

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Cannot remember where I got them - been a long time since I thought of this project.
 

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Ian33

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http://www.markmccandlish.com/Default.aspx?tabid=137

This is the best drawing I have ever seen of it by far. Linked because its copyright, but its awesome.
 

vulture

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Hi

Here is an image of one of NASA's test models of a pumpkinseed shape

Vulture
 

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XP67_Moonbat

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When you can show us evidence of a working prototype, I'll agree with you 100%. Till then, a gut feeling and a few shiny graphics simply aren't enough to go on.
 

SOC

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The whole "no evidence so it doesn't exist" argument is pretty tired. It PROBABLY doesn't exist, given a lack of any serious data...but you could've said the same thing about a certain CIA Mach 3 reconnaissance jet in 1962. Speculation or theorization is perfectly fine, because there's no serious evidence proving that one doesn't or didn't exist at some point either, right?
 

Sundog

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I could see it working as a very large flying wing/aerospike engine design. The rounded in side view designs don't look feasible, but the Av Week/McCandlish design looks more feasible, where the major diameter is where the exhuast nozzles are and the afterbody is the expansion nozzle, in the same sense that a linear aerospike engine has it's expansion nozzle. But, I couln't see rocket nozzles being all the way around it, as "the aft body/nozzle" would have different expansion effects based on the lateral postion of the nozzle. I think there may be something called the pumpkin seed, but when we see it, it will make more sense then these drawings. Sort of like the F-117 and the Testor model kit of a stealth aircraft. They had similar features, the canted tails, the low aspect ratio design, the inlets shielded on top, etc. But take specific design points and give them to 100 people and you'll get 100 different designs, some more feasible than others.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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SOC, I'll grant you that. However, most of these reports and articles originated in the 1990-91 timeframe. That's almost 20 years. Hell, you have prototypes like Tacit Blue and Boeing's Bird Of Prey getting declassified in that timeframe. So where's the "Flaming Pumpkinseed" or even Aurora for that matter?

And if it did exist, what would have been the point of programs like the X-43, the late Blackswift , the X-51, or FALCON? Granted those are all scramjet projects. However, if external combustion was workable, don't you think we'd have seen an actual demonstrator or even a proposal by now?

Seriously.

Look, the only thing I can think of is that somewhere along the line, MAYBE, just MAYBE, something was tried and it failed. Nobody likes to advertise their failures. However since there's nothing other than a NASA windtunnel model to back up this claim, it really doesn't exist. Short of declassification.

And to Vulture, if you're still convinced the Pumpkinseed is out there, maybe you should go on ATS.com.
 

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