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Northrop ATOP (Advanced Technology Observation Platform)

flateric

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First flight 10-28-1990 ... hmmm...have seen the second patch...but have never seen the first one before...
JTV-1 presumably means 'Joint Test Vehicle". Note that stars at previously revealed patch are matching the arrangement of weird FSW aircraft appearing on a new one. Last is authentic Northrop's one as well.

ATOP is an acronym for Advanced Technology Observation Platform. Its first flight was on 11/28/1990. Furtim Vigilans means "Vigilance through stealth."

First patch photo source: eBay, item #380062725025, sold for 355 bucks
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=380062725025&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=025
Second patch photo source:
"I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World"
by Trevor Paglen http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1933633328/ref=reg_hu-wl_item-added
 

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flateric

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Also of note a 'hole' in aircraft silhouette - at the same place where is moon crescent on the second.
 

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The silhouette on the first patch is a reference to the Klingon "Bird of Prey" in Star Trek, which is noted for its cloaking abilities. Perhaps ATOP doesn't resemble the Klingon ship, but it may possess some kind of optical stealth.
 

sferrin

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Andreas Parsch said:
CFE said:
[...] but it may possess some kind of optical stealth.
... which could explain the "see-through" fuselage section on the patch?

Speaking of "see-through" patches there are a couple F-22 pictures out there that make me go "hmmmm".
 

XP67_Moonbat

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They fished the BOP out of San Francisco bay and took it to Dreamland for evaluation. :p
 

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Bill Sweetman references this thread on the Av Week blog...


http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3a22ef0edb-53ed-4fcd-9931-00060be8cfe0&plckCommentSortOrder=TimeStampAscending

On October 28, 1990, a new aircraft made its first flight. It was not reported in Aviation Week, or indeed anywhere else, because it was secret - a black program. Now, apparently authentic patches have surfaced, thanks to the ever vigilant Flateric over at Secret Projects, identifying the Advanced Technology Observation Platform (ATOP).
 

CammNut

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Forward swept wing, hole in the middle of the fuselage, hmmm...
 

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flateric

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Well, now I think that Mr. Sweetman whacking the other side of his head...so am I... :p
Don't remember if classic Anderson's Thunderbird 2 has the stuff...
http://www.oup.co.uk/oxed/children/reference/thunderbirds/tbird2/
 

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quellish

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flateric said:
First flight 10-28-1990 ... hmmm...have seen the second patch...but have never seen the first one before...
JTV-1 presumably means 'Joint Test Vehicle". Note that stars at previously revealed patch are matching the arrangement of weird FSW aircraft appearing on a new one. Last is authentic Northrop's one as well.

ATOP is an acronym for Advanced Technology Observation Platform. Its first flight was on 11/28/1990. Furtim Vigilans means "Vigilance through stealth."

Flateric, are you sure this is an aircraft, not a spacecraft? 10/28/90 is not when AFP-731 was launched, but would probably be about right for when it was "operating". In fact, it was about this time that it went "invisible" to ground observation.
 

Justo Miranda

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From B.C.F.K. Publications 1987
Bernhard Klein Publisher
Via Chuck Davis
 

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Justo Miranda

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flateric said:
Well, now I think that Mr. Sweetman whacking the other side of his head...so am I... :p
Don't remember if classic Anderson's Thunderbird 2 has the stuff...
http://www.oup.co.uk/oxed/children/reference/thunderbirds/tbird2/

TB 2?
 

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BAROBA

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http://www.google.com/patents?id=i5I6AAAAEBAJ&zoom=4&dq=%22forward+swept+wing%22&pg=PP1&ci=137,884,715,525&source=bookclip#PPA1,M1

A boeing patent, the time-frame could match..
 

Sundog

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I think we're mixing our metaphors here, so to speak. I think, IMHO, that the patch represents active stealth technology, and that is why the Klingon Bird Of Prey is shown on the patch, and that it hasn't anything to with a FSW. Of course, I don't know anymore on this than anyone else here, I'm just saying that's how I interpret it is all.
 

Just call me Ray

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Hmmmm....

Thanks to hesham from the VSTOL projects thread for the pic
 

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dannydale

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Glad to know someone else had that idea at one time or another.
 

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bobbymike

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Sorry to post to an older thread but I am still making my way through reading all the interesting posts. Looking at the patch on top, the hole in the aircraft may denote active stealth but I can't help but see the the Texas state flag in the hole. What manufacturing or test facilities could this represent if it is Texas?
 

quellish

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At this point, my own opinion is that this related to MISTY and the AFP-731 mission.
 
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Advanced Technology Observation Platform?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/35042283@N07/

Pictures galore. Enjoy.
 

CFE

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The Flickr photos really cracked this case wide open. There's still plenty of questions I'd have about the program, its goals and history, but at least we have photos of the aircraft now.

If only somebody would start a Flickr page for Project Ninja... ;)
 

quellish

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CFE said:
The Flickr photos really cracked this case wide open. There's still plenty of questions I'd have about the program, its goals and history, but at least we have photos of the aircraft now.

If only somebody would start a Flickr page for Project Ninja... ;)

For me at least, more questions than answers...
 

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Not to say that this patch doesn't have any basis in reality but does the government ever make some patches for purposes of disinformation?
 

OM

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KJ_Lesnick said:
Not to say that this patch doesn't have any basis in reality but does the government ever make some patches for purposes of disinformation?

...Maybe not necessarily disinformation. All of the patches for the Mercury flights came *after* the program was completed. NASA realized that there was a market for selling memorabilia, and commissioned patches for each of the Mercury missions in the later 1960's, during the middle of the Gemini flights, IIRC.
 

Stargazer2006

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As for the guys who sell patches of secret programs on eBay, I should think that they are either suicidal OR the programs have been terminated and are no longer considered as important in terms of secrecy.
 

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Stargazer2006 said:
As for the guys who sell patches of secret programs on eBay, I should think that they are either suicidal OR the programs have been terminated and are no longer considered as important in terms of secrecy.

The world does not operate like a spy movie--the government does not kill people who leak information, report on leaked information, or sell patches from top secret projects.
 

blackstar

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Meteorit said:
So much for "optical stealth" etc... :p

It might be worthwhile for people to reread this thread from the beginning and note all the speculation that was wrong. It can serve as a cautionary lesson that sometimes what you speculate is an optically stealthy spyplane is actually just a tiny model with a hole in its middle dropped from the wing of a Cessna(!).

Sometimes truth is more boring than fiction.
 

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The world does not operate like a spy movie--the government does not kill people who leak information, report on leaked information, or sell patches from top secret projects.

I am not too sure where you get your information, but the US does actively pursue those that leak classified material. Depending on the size of the leak and who you leaked it to you may be arrested for treason (ie as a spy) to the minimal case of not gaining your security clearance back. This is something that they take very seriously.

As for the project and what we surmise it to be, I have come to learn that just because this is what you see on the surface does not mean that is particularly testing. I will leave it at that, but those that know how black projects work know of that which I speak.

Adam
 

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OH GREAT. Thanks! ::) Sorry, just messing with you. :) Not even a hint? Still seems like alot of secret hoopla for a pretty conventional design.
 

quellish

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blackstar said:
Meteorit said:
So much for "optical stealth" etc... :p

It might be worthwhile for people to reread this thread from the beginning and note all the speculation that was wrong. It can serve as a cautionary lesson that sometimes what you speculate is an optically stealthy spyplane is actually just a tiny model with a hole in its middle dropped from the wing of a Cessna(!).

Sometimes truth is more boring than fiction.

I would agree. "Vindicator" is an excellent example. If you were to look at the patch, you might thing it's some exotic directed energy program. Instead it's a "v-indicator".
 

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this team was made up of , USAF,Boeing,NASA, Lockhead, and Northrup personal in an off duty what if ? project looking at how to make a better O-2 replacement A/C.

the companys that these men and women made there livings at all had given them the OK to work togeather in this Idea,of mine.

The ATOP Project was , a concept for a manned or unmanned Aircraft. It was first designed by a group of Vetnam Vet. The A/C needed to be a light weight STOL A/C, for light airsupport missions.Reconnaissance and Surveillance. The Airframe was Apx.25 feet long and 7 feet tall with a 32 ft. wing span. the power plants were to be PT-6 tween paks. 1600hp total. the A/C could have been used in the COIN roll of the 1980s. First mockup was laid out in 1978.
 

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blackstar

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aeroengineer1 said:
The world does not operate like a spy movie--the government does not kill people who leak information, report on leaked information, or sell patches from top secret projects.

I am not too sure where you get your information, but the US does actively pursue those that leak classified material. Depending on the size of the leak and who you leaked it to you may be arrested for treason (ie as a spy) to the minimal case of not gaining your security clearance back. This is something that they take very seriously.

Please reread what I wrote and note the word "kill." Can you cite an instance of the government killing somebody for leaking classified information in, say, the last 40 years? Can you cite an instance of someone being charged with "treason" for leaking classified information in the last 40 years?
 

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Names of those dealing in classified information: Aldrich Ames (ex CIA, life sentence), Robert Hansen (ex FBI, the death penalty was initially sought, life sentence given), Brian Patrick Regan (NRO, Airforce, death penalty sought, jury declined), Chi Mak (Engineer with Paragon Power, convicted with his family for selling technology related to submarine technology to China. At just shy of 70 years old he was given 24 1/2 years in prison basically equaling a life sentence. He only had a secret level clearance and much of the documentation that he distributed was not classified, but NOFORN).

Death penalty given for dealing in classified information (a little out of the 40 year period) Julius and Ethel Rosenburg (sale of information regarding the atomic bomb)

This is just a small list that I put together just off the top of my head and with 15 min of verification on Google. I am sorry for Hijacking the thread, but I did want to set the record straight as I do have some familiarity with the topic of security. (No I am not a security investigator).

Adam
 

OM

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aeroengineer1 said:
Death penalty given for dealing in classified information (a little out of the 40 year period) Julius and Ethel Rosenburg (sale of information regarding the atomic bomb)

...And had David Greenglass not plea bargained, he'd have probably met the same fate.
 

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As a person who has been following programs such as this for years, it really pains me to say this, but I'm starting to wonder if all of our curiosity and research is in vain. Since the Internet came to prominence, I really can't think of a single significant, verifiable project that has leaked or surfaced. DOD, along with it's contractors, does a fantastic job of safeguarding even the notional designs associated with classified programs. We knew virtually nothing about BOP, Tacit Blue and the others until the official unveiling. For example, There is very little known about Isinglass(which, from the drawings and photos that have emerged, appears amazingly advanced for it's time) 50 years on!

I'm not sure if anyone remembers this, but back in 2003, Janes published a drawing of a prototype aircraft that had been released by (I believe) Northrop. It was a head-on view of the front section of the plane that did not reveal it's overall shape, but I remember that it was manned, black in color, somewhat angular and faceted, and really looked like nothing that I've seen since- except possibly one of the sensorcraft configurations. Although it appeared to be an official release by the contractor, the picture and all references to the aircraft had been removed by the end of the day. To this day, I've heard or seen nothing else of this project.

I'm hoping that as technology advances, it will be no longer necessary to conceal the existence of many of these legacy projects. As time goes on, many of the brilliant engineers who developed these amazing projects are starting to pass on. It would be a shame if we were not able to recognize their work while they are still here.
 

flateric

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xstatic3000 said:
back in 2003, Janes published a drawing of a prototype aircraft that had been released by (I believe) Northrop. It was a head-on view of the front section of the plane that did not reveal it's overall shape, but I remember that it was manned, black in color, somewhat angular and faceted, and really looked like nothing that I've seen since- except possibly one of the sensorcraft configurations. Although it appeared to be an official release by the contractor, the picture and all references to the aircraft had been removed by the end of the day. To this day, I've heard or seen nothing else of this project.

Surely you have saved photo and complete web-page?
 

xstatic3000

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Unfortunately, I didn't have the prescence of mind to save the picture back then since I had no idea that it would disappear so quickly. I remember noticing it on the Janes site while I was in my office, but when I pulled up the page after I got home, the news posting was gone. I've always been interested in advanced aircraft, but this incident really served to increase my interest, and I have hoped as well that someone else had a copy of what I saw.

Keeping in mind that this is my recollection from a picture that I saw briefly 6 years ago, I can best describe the front view that I saw of aircraft as slightly resembling the diamond-shaped Boeing sensorcraft concept, with a bit of the nonexistent "switchblade" in some ways. Interestingly, I seem to recall a somewhat faceted, f117-esque cockpit indicating that this was a manned system.

I certainly regret not saving the article and the picture.
 

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aeroengineer1 said:
This is just a small list that I put together just off the top of my head and with 15 min of verification on Google. I am sorry for Hijacking the thread, but I did want to set the record straight as I do have some familiarity with the topic of security. (No I am not a security investigator).

I also have a little familiarity with the topic of security. What I was objecting to was a) the exaggeration of the original poster, and b) your reading comprehension. The original poster implied that people who sell classified mission patches might be killed for doing so. That's absurd.

Of _course_ people can go to jail for espionage (none of those you cited were charged with "treason" were they? Note that there's a difference.). That was not the issue.

And it turns out that the issue of "leaking" classified information, as opposed to providing classified information to a foreign government, is more complex than most people think. Leaking classified information, for instance, to the press, is almost never prosecuted and in fact is part of our democracy.
 

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Being the "original poster" I apologize for sounding "absurd" as you so bluntly put it...

This being said... the instances of the past 40 years that were given concerned programs or information considered as classified but KNOWN TO EXIST. What happens in case the divulged information's very existence is consistently DENIED by the governmental agencies? They can't send to jail someone on the grounds that he leaked something that is not SUPPOSED to exist, since it would be paramount to acknowledging its very existence, right?

Oh well...
 

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