Several General Dynamics / Lockheed high-speed studies from '90s

flateric

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First two drawings represent two Lockheed Mach 5,5 concepts from late 80s - early 90s with deep GDFW roots. Second concept has 'CL-<...>' model number.

"...A Mach 5 to 6 vehicle concepts to represent the general maximum speed achievable with hydrocarbon fuel. A typical TOGW is estimated to be 200K to 400K lbm to carry a payload over a mission radius of 3000 to 6000 nmi. This vehicle concept was based on a tandem turboramjet gas turbine engine in which the gas turbine portion of the cycle operated from takeoff to approximately Mach 3 to 4. A tandem ramburner functioned from Mach 3 to 4 to the maximum speed between Mach 5 to 6."

Third is a "...Mach 3+ vehicle concept with the maximum speed obtainable with a high speed gas turbine engine. [...]
This vehicle had a TOGW of over 300K lbm. It typically was a JP-7 fuel/thermal management system (TMS). The maximum speed is between Mach 3 and as high as Mach 4 and governed by engine compatibility, fuel/thermal management and materials/structures
technology and design."
 

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dickie

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wow, interesting pictures. wonder how this will play with the "black triangles" crowd ;D
 

archipeppe

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The first one seems to have some resemblance with the X24C evolution.
Perhaps it is only a "family look".... ;)
 

flateric

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"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
 

LowObservable

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wonder how this will play with the "black triangles" crowd

We already know about it...
 

flateric

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So far no wows like "OMG! This IS Aurora!" I'm patiently waiting.
 

archipeppe

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Orionblamblam said:
It's a waverider (as is the second), so the resemblance is due purely to the angle.

Yep, you're right the resemblance is purely due to the triangular shape.
 

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Actually, the bottom one reminds me a lot of the original X-47, but with a more "Boeing" style inlet. Cool pics though, I don't recall seeing these before.
 

flateric

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Seems that you are talking of different designs.
 

flateric

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Once more I see these design graphics
 

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flateric

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and once more...
 

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Gridlock

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Pretty hard not to think that someone's been flying a waverider about for a few years now, eh? So many studies, so many theoretical designs, so many sonic booms on a Thursday...

Does this make me part of the "black triangle" crowd? =)
 

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flateric said:
reading something like Hallion's "The X-43A Flight Research Program: Lessons Learned" and knowing amount of problems they have entered to get tiny seconds at high M with airbreather will make you more realistic guy

How much technology sharing is there between the black and white worlds? Open? Some? Or none?

If the AF wouldn't share LO tech with the Navy for A-12 then why would your argument hold any water? I'd imagine there's boxes and boxes of theoretical work on thermal blooming and adaptive optics and god-only-knows-what that any astronomer would give his eye teeth to see tucked up in the SDI archives, for instance.
 

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And what exactly is your point then? That Aurora exists? That the hundreds of millions USD spent on the X-43, X-51 and other white-world programs are spent just to fool us pure civil idiots?
 

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Matej said:
And what exactly is your point then? That Aurora exists? That the hundreds of millions USD spent on the X-43, X-51 and other white-world programs are spent just to fool us pure civil idiots?

No, they're your projections of what you think I mean - I mean only that X-43 proves nothing about previous/current waverider research in the black world, because we know for a fact that technology and research simply isn't shared between black and white projects. Sharing between black and black projects seems difficult enough.

It's not spent to fool us, it's spent because there's no alternative.

"Aurora" was a budget line that, as quellish will say, probably referred to something we already know about or that went nowhere. To use that one word as a name of a currently-flying airframe is just a quick and derogatory way to discredit any discussion of what, exactly, fills the SR-71 role these days. MISTY? LO Waverider? Son-of-STARGATE? Who knows?

My point, if I were to admit that I might have one, is that it's damn interesting trying to figure out what actually is flying and that the sheer number and longevity of this waverider research vs the lack of one single flying airframe pre-2008 is remarkable. I'd bet a dollar that something flew out of DET3 or wherever at some point, and do wonder whether it still does.
 

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Gridlock said:
Matej said:
And what exactly is your point then? That Aurora exists? That the hundreds of millions USD spent on the X-43, X-51 and other white-world programs are spent just to fool us pure civil idiots?

No, they're your projections of what you think I mean - I mean only that X-43 proves nothing about previous/current waverider research in the black world, because we know for a fact that technology and research simply isn't shared between black and white projects. Sharing between black and black projects seems difficult enough.

It's not spent to fool us, it's spent because there's no alternative.

"Aurora" was a budget line that, as quellish will say, probably referred to something we already know about or that went nowhere. To use that one word as a name of a currently-flying airframe is just a quick and derogatory way to discredit any discussion of what, exactly, fills the SR-71 role these days. MISTY? LO Waverider? Son-of-STARGATE? Who knows?

My point, if I were to admit that I might have one, is that it's damn interesting trying to figure out what actually is flying and that the sheer number and longevity of this waverider research vs the lack of one single flying airframe pre-2008 is remarkable. I'd bet a dollar that something flew out of DET3 or wherever at some point, and do wonder whether it still does.

I think I read it here somewhere, but in one of the "test pilot" banquets, one of the test pilots not present reportedly held the record for the highest altitude and/or the fastest speed in some classified aircraft with the weapons bay open. What that aircraft was, I have no idea. I doubt it was a wave rider, though. They have serious issues off their design point. I would love to be proven wrong and have it look like that Northrop waverider concept, or even that NASA design that looks very cool.
 

quellish

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Sundog said:
I think I read it here somewhere, but in one of the "test pilot" banquets, one of the test pilots not present reportedly held the record for the highest altitude and/or the fastest speed in some classified aircraft with the weapons bay open. What that aircraft was, I have no idea. I doubt it was a wave rider, though. They have serious issues off their design point. I would love to be proven wrong and have it look like that Northrop waverider concept, or even that NASA design that looks very cool.

Peter Merlin's excellent article on DLR, "Black Projects at Groom Lake: Into the 21st Century", covers this. The pilot in question is Daniel R. Vanderhorst. The aircraft in question in this case was TACIT BLUE.
 

quellish

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Gridlock said:
How much technology sharing is there between the black and white worlds? Open? Some? Or none?

If the AF wouldn't share LO tech with the Navy for A-12 then why would your argument hold any water? I'd imagine there's boxes and boxes of theoretical work on thermal blooming and adaptive optics and god-only-knows-what that any astronomer would give his eye teeth to see tucked up in the SDI archives, for instance.

The answer is "it depends". For example, elements of the Hubble Space Telescope and KH-11/12 programs shared technology. In other areas/resources they did not. What you often see though is that for a given problem set, there will be a white world, open component, and a black world counterpart - not duplicating effort but exploring different aspects of the problem. For example, there was the NASA X-Wing program, which explored the aerodynamics of the concept. There was a black world counterpart in parallel that explored the LO qualities of the concept as well as other things. Two sides of the same coin.

Actually the SDI scientists and engineers pushed pretty hard to get a lot of their work into the hands of astronomers. Sodium resonant backscattering with a laser to create a guide star is a good example of this. They pushed to declassify that work because astronomers in the academic world were struggling with the same problem (but getting close to a solution on their own).
 

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quellish said:
Sundog said:
I think I read it here somewhere, but in one of the "test pilot" banquets, one of the test pilots not present reportedly held the record for the highest altitude and/or the fastest speed in some classified aircraft with the weapons bay open. What that aircraft was, I have no idea. I doubt it was a wave rider, though. They have serious issues off their design point. I would love to be proven wrong and have it look like that Northrop waverider concept, or even that NASA design that looks very cool.

Peter Merlin's excellent article on DLR, "Black Projects at Groom Lake: Into the 21st Century", covers this. The pilot in question is Daniel R. Vanderhorst. The aircraft in question in this case was TACIT BLUE.

If this is the case, what was the "weapons bay" a reference to, as I wasn't aware that the Tacit Blue had a weapons bay?
 

quellish

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Sundog said:
If this is the case, what was the "weapons bay" a reference to, as I wasn't aware that the Tacit Blue had a weapons bay?

Bay doors, not weapons bay doors.
 

Sundog

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quellish said:
Sundog said:
If this is the case, what was the "weapons bay" a reference to, as I wasn't aware that the Tacit Blue had a weapons bay?

Bay doors, not weapons bay doors.

Well then, let me rephrase it, why would the Tacit Blue be flying around with bay doors open? I thought it's radar system was conformal?
 

quellish

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Sundog said:
Well then, let me rephrase it, why would the Tacit Blue be flying around with bay doors open? I thought it's radar system was conformal?

There is nothing to indicate that a flight with any door open is a normal experience. These are test pilots after all.

And to reference the earlier conversation....
NASA's work in hypersonics has focused on scramjets. Scramjets are indeed hard, and require flight testing to validate. Just because X amount of money has been spent by NASA on *scramjets*, does not mean work has not been done elsewhere with different configurations. It is entirely possible that DoD made progress with high speed aircraft using propulsion systems that not compatible with NASA's goals. NASA has also been targetting higher speeds than a DoD system might. Mach 12 is a very different goal than, say, mach 6.

NASA and DoD have very different goals, which can lead to very different solutions. I'm not saying DoD has had some classified success with high speed airbreathing propulsion, only that the logic that NASA has spent X on Mach 12, therefore, bananna, may not be sound.
 

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quellish said:
Sundog said:
Well then, let me rephrase it, why would the Tacit Blue be flying around with bay doors open? I thought it's radar system was conformal?

There is nothing to indicate that a flight with any door open is a normal experience. These are test pilots after all.

And to reference the earlier conversation....
NASA's work in hypersonics has focused on scramjets. Scramjets are indeed hard, and require flight testing to validate. Just because X amount of money has been spent by NASA on *scramjets*, does not mean work has not been done elsewhere with different configurations. It is entirely possible that DoD made progress with high speed aircraft using propulsion systems that not compatible with NASA's goals. NASA has also been targetting higher speeds than a DoD system might. Mach 12 is a very different goal than, say, mach 6.

NASA and DoD have very different goals, which can lead to very different solutions. I'm not saying DoD has had some classified success with high speed airbreathing propulsion, only that the logic that NASA has spent X on Mach 12, therefore, bananna, may not be sound.

Yes, that much I understand as back when I was in school in the late '80's, we had plenty of propulsion info on air breathing propulsion systems up to Mach 4.5 to 5.0 that weren't scramjet propulsion and all of the research demonstrated that it wasn't that difficult given the state of the art at the time.
 

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Here at SP when it comes to black military technology there is definitely the "dreamer", "hopeful" and "realist" crowds with several deviations in between each category. I am a hopeful dreamer myself. I see an annual budget of $40 + billion spent over decades combined with the amazing technologies we had in the 50's and 60's and I cannot help but think, "there has got to be something out there, in the black world, that would blow us away."

Back in 1991 Aviation Week had an article about what, if anything, the US was developing "in the black". The secretary of defense at the time Dick Cheney said there were a whole bunch of programs to develop "silver bullet, war winning" aircraft and other defense technologies that are beyond what anyone believes possible. Now 20 years and several hundred billion dollars later we HAVE TO HAVE some awesome stuff right ???

See hopeful dreamer ;D
 

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bobbymike said:
Now 20 years and several hundred billion dollars later we HAVE TO HAVE some awesome stuff right ???

"Have to?" Nope. Look at the history of airbreathing SSTO spaceplanes. Starting even before ASP, the USAF would blow fat stacks of cash on the concept for a few years, then give up. A decade later, they'd try again, spend a bucket of money, then give up. Every time they'd make progress... but every time they basically had to start from scratch. In the end, a whole lot of money spent, and whole lot of work done... and nothing relevant to show for it.

There's no reason to believe that the black world is *necessarily* run any better than the white world.
 

sferrin

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Orionblamblam said:
bobbymike said:
Now 20 years and several hundred billion dollars later we HAVE TO HAVE some awesome stuff right ???

"Have to?" Nope. Look at the history of airbreathing SSTO spaceplanes. Starting even before ASP, the USAF would blow fat stacks of cash on the concept for a few years, then give up. A decade later, they'd try again, spend a bucket of money, then give up. Every time they'd make progress... but every time they basically had to start from scratch. In the end, a whole lot of money spent, and whole lot of work done... and nothing relevant to show for it.

There's no reason to believe that the black world is *necessarily* run any better than the white world.

Sounds like what's being described in the RATTLRS thread. :(
 

quellish

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Orionblamblam said:
There's no reason to believe that the black world is *necessarily* run any better than the white world.

The notion of mad scientists in secret labs making breakthroughs may be romantic, but is not realistic. If anything, the black world is more backward than the world of open methods. The secrecy rules slow *everything* down.
 

OM

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quellish said:
Orionblamblam said:
There's no reason to believe that the black world is *necessarily* run any better than the white world.

The notion of mad scientists in secret labs making breakthroughs may be romantic, but is not realistic. If anything, the black world is more backward than the world of open methods. The secrecy rules slow *everything* down.

...Here's someone who'll agree with you on that one:

SimonBarSinister.jpg


...After all, there's no fun in being a mad scientist if you can't brag about it? ;D ;D
 

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Gridlock said:
Pretty hard not to think that someone's been flying a waverider about for a few years now, eh? So many studies, so many theoretical designs, so many sonic booms on a Thursday...

Does this make me part of the "black triangle" crowd? =)

Waveriders are nothing magical, nor some holy grail as they are only on design at one specific Mach# & AoA combination.
 

Mat Parry

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Whilst it is my feeling that the whole "SR72 stealth is the new speed" was a marketing ploy by Lockheed, they did say some interesting things about waveriders in general

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,20584.60.html
http://aviationweek.com/awin-featured-story/exclusive-skunk-works-reveals-sr-71-successor-plan

A vehicle penetrating at high altitude and Mach 6, a speed viewed by Lockheed Martin as the “sweet spot” for practical air-breathing hypersonics

Despite never progressing to what Leland describes as a planned -HTV-3X follow-on demonstrator that “never was,” called the Blackswift, the conceptual design work led to “several key accomplishments which we didn’t advertise too much,” he notes. “It produced an aircraft configuration that could controllably take off, accelerate through subsonic, supersonic, transonic and hypersonic speeds. It was controllable and kept the pointy end forward,” adds Leland.

Fundamental lessons were learned, particularly about flight control systems that could maintain stability through the transonic speed regime. Lockheed Martin’s work proved the configuration could “take off without departing,” Leland notes. “We were able to drive down the takeoff speed and keep it stable and controllable. We proved all that in a whole series of wind-tunnel tests.

Aerodynamically, the (SR-72) forebody appears to be shaped for inlet compression at high speed, but without the characteristic stepped “wave-rider” configuration of the X-51A. “We are not advocates of wave riders,” Leland says. “We found that, in order for a wave rider to pay off, you have to be at cruise and be burning most of your fuel at cruise. But these designs burn most fuel as they accelerate, so you want an efficient vehicle that gets you to cruise. You end up with a vehicle that is hard to take off and land, has little fuel volume and high transonic drag."



I certainly do not have the expertise to comment on the validity of the claims of Brad Leland, Lockheed's portfolio manager for air-breathing hypersonic technologies.
 

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Mat Parry said:
Whilst it is my feeling that the whole "SR72 stealth is the new speed" was a marketing ploy by Lockheed, they did say some interesting things about waveriders in general

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,20584.60.html
http://aviationweek.com/awin-featured-story/exclusive-skunk-works-reveals-sr-71-successor-plan

Aerodynamically, the (SR-72) forebody appears to be shaped for inlet compression at high speed, but without the characteristic stepped “wave-rider” configuration of the X-51A. “We are not advocates of wave riders,” Leland says. “We found that, in order for a wave rider to pay off, you have to be at cruise and be burning most of your fuel at cruise. But these designs burn most fuel as they accelerate, so you want an efficient vehicle that gets you to cruise. You end up with a vehicle that is hard to take off and land, has little fuel volume and high transonic drag."


I certainly do not have the expertise to comment on the validity of the claims of Brad Leland, Lockheed's portfolio manager for air-breathing hypersonic technologies.

The funny part of calling the X-51A a waverider is it appears only the very foremost part of the forebody is such.
 
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