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Northrop's Project Ninja?

flateric

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Here we see a patch. Original, authentic patch from Northrop (note, Northrop, not NG). The question is what the hell was Project Ninja.
Remember that patch with sword related to 'Switchblade' that turned out to be Bird Of Prey program one? I mean that ninja black profile may be hint for aircraft planform...
 

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sferrin

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How were the Northrop Switchblade concept and the Boeing Bird of Prey related? ???
 

flateric

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Read this http://www.air-attack.com/page/9/Switchblade.html, http://www.norse-man.net/marvel/Equipment/Switchblade.htm and this http://www.area51zone.com/aircraft/switchblade.shtml - reprints from PopSci article on 'Switchblade' - and look at the patch. Citate "Recently POPULAR SCIENCE obtained from aviation author and historian Jim Goodall a squadron patch believed to be worn by pilots who fly the Bird of Prey. As with many such patches, this one contains a clue about the aircraft: The sword and its forward-swept hilt may be a stylized bird’s-eye view of the aircraft." Imagine that 1999 on the street and you have never seen BOP either heard this name.
 

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flateric

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OK, we have message dissapearing from this post. Someone has posted remark on Project Ninja about a month ago, telling about talk to Northrop veteran that described a project as some missile or UAV stuff - so, this message is deleted.
The main idea was that Ninja wasn't anything that deserves interest at all - some backside project...
 

flateric

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ATF program name was Senior Sky as you probably know. Don't think that Northrop used own name for their ATF PAVs tests. If it was, person would just say that - believe me, I did ask him, and just didn't get reply, otherwise our communications were very warm. So I won't ask him again.

Patch was sold for around 50 bucks in the beginning of August - sorry, I'm deleting old eBay messages, so can't track the item.
 

Sundog

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Unfortunately, without more information, I don't think this tells us anything except that there was a project Ninja. I would be inclined to say this could be the rumored "Switchblade" program. Then again, Ninja's, historically speaking, are supposed to be "stealthy Assassins." As such, the name probably refers to some sort of stealth aircraft.

I'm also dis-inclined to believe the aircraft configuration is in the patch, because after the B-2, YF-23, and BoP patches, I think it's too expected now.
 

Just call me Ray

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I_B_Unseen said:
However, the person also brought up "Gordon and Freeman"... these projects I've never heard of.


Ummm...someone needs to play more Half-Life (or Half-Life 2). Gordon Freeman is a computer game character.
 

CFE

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If I may speculate, the exposed portion of the ninja's face seems to take on the shape of the early ATB planform. It's possible that Northrop covertly built a subscale demonstrator for their ATB efforts under Senior Ice. But I'm not convinced, seeing as how the flying wing concept and fly-by-wire controls were both at sufficient tech readiness levels prior to Senior Ice.
 

flateric

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We have here VERY schematic representation of ninja warrior face, and whole figure in fact - in my opinion, it quite can be LO inlet, and can draw any conclusions having Bird Of Prey patch and real aircraft as example of what can be imagined, and how things look in real.
 

flateric

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...this wasn't too bad for a start, Travis...thanks! Seems that we've some correspondence with you back in late 90s, if you remember these aerospace message boards of the time.

Regarding patch, it was appearing ebay auctions twice for the last half of an year, but price really bites.
 

sferrin

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I'm puzzled as to why/how you'd want to launch subsonic cruise missiles from space. ???
 

CFE

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Something's not checking out about the story. It really makes no sense to launch the missile from orbit, for a variety of reasons. How are you going to protect it from re-entry heating? The TPS is going to eat into your payload. Suborbital launch (via ballistic missile or air-launched rocket) would be the way to go.

Additionally, the phrases "test" and "results" on the patch would imply that Project Ninja actually made it to the hardware phase and went through testing. I don't think that's the case for TSSAM, let alone a TSSAM derivative.

I'm not saying that I totally reject the explanation, but I'd need more details before I bought into it.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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OK, this is just a theory and not a very good one, so you guys can growl at me later. But here goes. What if the Ninja cruise missile was somehow meant to be developed in conjunction with the Common Aero Vehicle (CAV). How better to get your subsonic ordnance on target from space, right?

http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/systems/x-41.htm\

Yeah, I know. It's GlobalSecurity but I needed a quick ref for any friends out there who don't know of this.

Yes, it's not the best of theories. But I thought I'd put it out there anyway.
 

sferrin

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XP67_Moonbat said:
OK, this is just a theory and not a very good one, so you guys can growl at me later. But here goes. What if the Ninja cruise missile was somehow meant to be developed in conjunction with the Common Aero Vehicle (CAV). How better to get your subsonic ordnance on target from space, right?

Yeah but if you're already hypersonic why bother slowing down? Just head on to the target.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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Yeah, this is true. I hadn't really thought of that. I guess it would depend on what sort of mission profile and the type of target one wanted to neutralize. Perhaps, if one wanted to go for an all-out kinetic kill profile then, yes. Why slow down?

But just for argument's sake, your mission profile called for releasing X-amount of cruise missiles into a heavily defended airspace no manned aircraft could enter. Instead of wholesale kinetic kill tactics, maybe you only want to remove certain key targets in your designated target area. Kinetic kill is definitely great. But suppose the mission called for the sort of precision only a subsonic cruise missile would ensure? Perhaps then, would the cruise missiles be necessary. But then again........

Perhaps, you could drop two CAV's, kinda of a one-on-one approach. One CAV loaded up with cruise missiles for you precision work. And the other CAV for a kinetic kill approach, a la " Rods Of God" or some other amazing toy. Either way, it's going to be a really bad day for whoever's on the recieving end.

The upshot: you won't have to send your aircrews to their death over an impenatrable airspace. They will fight another day and all the resources to needed for a strike package (e.g.- tankers, AWACS, ECM, SAR helos, etc.) won't be neddlessly wasted on that one set of targets. And all the while your targets will still be neutralized. Things to definbitely make you "Hmmm"

OK, I know I'm going get dissected now :p. Discuss.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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I also forgot any possible UCAV's in that list of resources. For the argument's sake, let's also assume they, too, would not be able to get in over the said airspace. :p
 

quellish

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CFE said:
Something's not checking out about the story. It really makes no sense to launch the missile from orbit, for a variety of reasons. How are you going to protect it from re-entry heating? The TPS is going to eat into your payload. Suborbital launch (via ballistic missile or air-launched rocket) would be the way to go.

Additionally, the phrases "test" and "results" on the patch would imply that Project Ninja actually made it to the hardware phase and went through testing. I don't think that's the case for TSSAM, let alone a TSSAM derivative.

I'm not saying that I totally reject the explanation, but I'd need more details before I bought into it.

TSSAM definitely made it to the hardware stage, and did at least start testing.

Mentioned here, for example:
http://sill-www.army.mil/HISTORY/Ach99.PDF
http://www.gao.gov/archive/1995/ns9546.pdf

From the GAO report:
"Unsuccessful flight test results, particularly over the last 2 years, made
attainment of TSSAM’s very high reliability requirement questionable. The
program office and Northrop initiated a reliability improvement program
to address this concern, but demonstration of whether problems had been
resolved would have taken several years."
 

I_B_Unseen

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fake:

http://cgi.ebay.com/PROJECT-NINJA-PATCH-NORTHROP-STUDY-TEST-SUCCESS_W0QQitemZ140276531143QQihZ004QQcategoryZ36078QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

ba70_1.jpg
 

Wembley

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It's not quite as exciting as you might think - the hardware is the Northrop ADM-160 MALD used as part of a network-centric missile system -

Project NINJA = Netcentric INtelligence Jamming & Attack

http://www.raytheon.com/technology_today/archive/2008_issue2.pdf

" This summer’s demonstration will combine three Raytheon technologies: the Miniature
Air-Launched Decoy (MALD™), the Netted Element Weapon Service™ (NEWS) and
Netted Effects (NetFx). NEWS and NetFx were featured in the previous article and
are briefly described below. Together, these capabilities are Raytheon’s tactical implementation
of net-centric capabilities in Project NINJA (Netcentric INtelligence
Jamming & Attack)."
 

flateric

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Wembley, thank you so much for resolving a mystery. As it often happens, truth is much less exciting than expectations)
 

Wembley

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My pleasure. One thing though - look again at the Ninja's face in the patch and the tail fins on the MALD.

I think you were quite right in assuming that there was something hidden in there.
 

I_B_Unseen

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Wembley said:
My pleasure. One thing though - look again at the Ninja's face in the patch and the tail fins on the MALD.

I think you were quite right in assuming that there was something hidden in there.

So how does a 1995 DARPA-derived MALD, that Northrop took over in 1996, have anything in common with a patch created in the mid to late 1980's?

On top of that, how does Raytheon's Project Ninja have anything in common with Northrop's Project Ninja? It even states in the writing (which took about a minute to read) that the project was created sometime after 2004 when there was a need for it, with 2 of the 3 major components only coming into existance after 2001 (the other being the MALD). As well, Raytheon's NINJA stands for "Netcentric INtelligence Jamming & Attack". Netcentric wasn't even a term until the late 90's, and only used by the DoD on a semi-regular basis after the turn of the century.

Great that you brought it up, but it has no relevance other than the same name to the original topic. I already said what it was, in as much clarity as I could give, but I see that people were already shooting down the idea, thus I removed it. There is only so much I can say, and I also see no need in keeping information standing if everyone is looking to shoot it down or disregard it. As well, good luck on finding out what the ATOP is... ;D
 

Wembley

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I_B_Unseen - I wasn't aware that we knew the date of the patch. If it is genuinely from the 1980's then it's a different program.

However - the MALD is a Northop product which would explain their involvement. And is the Ninja's face just a massive coincidence?

ATOP is another fun one, but IIRC, flying novel sensors on an existing platform in the early 90's, not actually a new aircraft.
 

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I was hoping it would turn out to be a stealth helicopter, the patch looked a bit like a UCAR fuselage and the sword represented the rotor blades ;)
 

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12 years since the last post. Has anything more come to light about this program?
 

Whisperstream

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Project NINJA (Netcentric Intelligence, Jamming and Attack) used a miniature air-launched decoy (MALD) airframe equipped with the Netted Element Weapon Service (NEWS) and Netted Effects (NetFx) software. NINJA was designed to be a launch-and-leave weapon capable of operating within a net-centric environment. It apparently underwent developmental testing prior to 2008. There was a full-up field demonstration scheduled for July 2008, but I don't know if that took place. The field demo was supposed to show how multiple users could simultaneously benefit from the NINJA's sensor capabilities.

According to the concept of operations, requests from users would come from an experimental Joint Air Operations Center (JAOC-X). These requests and the responses generated would be directly exchanged between the NINJA weapon and the JAOC-X or posted to an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) network by an airborne Distributed Common Ground System Integrated Backbone (DIB). Data posted to the ISR network would be available to all authorized users. Scenario parameters would allow users varying amounts of ad hoc NINJA re-tasking capability in near-real time to response to changing battlespace conditions.
 

elmayerle

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Something's not checking out about the story. It really makes no sense to launch the missile from orbit, for a variety of reasons. How are you going to protect it from re-entry heating? The TPS is going to eat into your payload. Suborbital launch (via ballistic missile or air-launched rocket) would be the way to go.

Additionally, the phrases "test" and "results" on the patch would imply that Project Ninja actually made it to the hardware phase and went through testing. I don't think that's the case for TSSAM, let alone a TSSAM derivative.

I'm not saying that I totally reject the explanation, but I'd need more details before I bought into it.
TSSAM was well into the hardware and testing phase for both air-launched and ground-launched versions. Ground-launched version, for the US Army, was cancelled just before a test launch to see if they had managed to correct problems that showed up on previous flights. Before cancellation, a TSSAM derivative was being developed to submit to the RAF competition for a stand off cruise missile.
 

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About 20 years ago, more or less, I saw some video of an F-16 carrying and launching g a TASSM. The missile made a very precise impact on a concrete bunker target.
 
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