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U.S. Air Force Said Poised to Award Bomber Contract Tuesday

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posted on Nov, 7 2015 @ 10:04 AM
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a reply to: Bfirez

Lets take a look at some of the events and their placement on the timeline in regards to a LO HALE platform:

Darkstar (RQ-3) first flight was in 1996 and it's last flight was in 1999 before being cancelled due to "budgetary" reasons. Despite the one crash on the original article's second flight in 1996, the second aircraft seamed to be progressing and expanding it's flight envelope nicely over the course of less than a year before the program was shut down. A third aircraft was built but supposedly never flew.
The contract for the RQ-180 as believed to have been awarded to Northrop Grumman in 2008 and that aircraft is likely still in development today.

This leaves a gap of more than 10 years that the DoD could have had but publicly didn't have a high altitude long endurance LO ISR UAS.

I believe that the Darkstar program continued and that the cut in the original program was the point at which it went black. I think the DoD does have a LO HALE platform since the early 2000's whose forerunner was the Darkstar as evidenced by the U-2 pilots spotting a craft at or above their altitude during that time frame. I think it is also still flying to this day.

An interesting side note that I noticed while at Palmdale last summer. Inside the gift shop at the Blackbird Park museum there is a cool plaque that has a small US flag and some mission patches from the U-2, SR-71 and Tier III- (Darkstar) so I know Lockheed was pretty proud of that program.
edit on 7-11-2015 by Sammamishman because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 7 2015 @ 10:26 AM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

Another point would like to add. The Air Force has parallel universe's going on with regards to ISR capable UAS's.
On one side they have the non stealthy everyday platforms that we all hear about. The RQ-4 Global Hawk for high altitude, MQ-9 Reaper and the MQ-1 for low altitude ISR work.
On the LO stealthy side it has the same thing. The Sentinel for low altitude ISR, the RQ-180 and the UAV that we are discussing for high altitude ISR.



posted on Nov, 7 2015 @ 12:06 PM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

Would a larger darkstar be simply scaled up, or is it a different design altogether?



posted on Nov, 7 2015 @ 12:15 PM
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a reply to: Bfirez

Not sure what it actually looks like. The Darkstar had some pretty good stealth characteristics so it's follow on would probably have some family resemblances.



posted on Nov, 7 2015 @ 02:05 PM
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a reply to: darksidius

Not a hope.



posted on Nov, 7 2015 @ 02:55 PM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

I'd add that there's a lot of evidence that the Darkstar was a bit of an "AARS/Quartz Jr." of sorts, a scaled down version of a shape that was developed for that program.

If so, there's no reason why it wouldn't take to scaling back up in size very well..



posted on Nov, 7 2015 @ 03:47 PM
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a reply to: Barnalby
With the Wichita , it seem that the triangle shape work fine so the UAV can be in the same style of shape. Surely work fine for the stealth too.



posted on Nov, 7 2015 @ 03:57 PM
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a reply to: darksidius

And how many triangles do you see flying high altitude, long loiter missions?



posted on Nov, 7 2015 @ 04:12 PM
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a reply to: darksidius

The triangle is not a very efficient shape for high altitude. It's stealthy but if you take the time to look at every other shape with long loiter time, that goes high, you will see huge long nearly straight wings not a delta triangle.



posted on Nov, 7 2015 @ 05:41 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
A triangle shape can fly at least 40000 or 50000 feet in the case of Wichita with the trailing edge its the case no ?


edit on 7-11-2015 by darksidius because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 7 2015 @ 05:46 PM
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a reply to: darksidius

How do you know what altitude it was at? And 40-50,000 isn't HALE altitude. The existing HALE platforms operate over 65,000 feet.



posted on Nov, 7 2015 @ 05:50 PM
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a reply to: darksidius

Wichita wasn't that high. It was producing a contail. Contails propagate from 25k - 40k ft. Where'd you get 40-50?
edit on 7-11-2015 by Sammamishman because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 7 2015 @ 05:57 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
I just suppose with the contrail that it must be 30 k or 40 / 50k , But are you realy stealthy with long straight wing ?



posted on Nov, 7 2015 @ 06:03 PM
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a reply to: darksidius

Contrail formation stops about 40,000 and is usually occurring around 35-38,000 tops.

Yes. Times have changed. The F-22 and F-35 are two of the stealthiest aircraft flying and have relatively large, flat surfaces.



posted on Nov, 11 2015 @ 09:06 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

IT! IS ON!

Fighter mafia already making initial moves against the bomber. They are claiming the bomber's budget cost will disrupt the F-35 procurement.



posted on Nov, 11 2015 @ 09:11 AM
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a reply to: anzha

Everyone that's surprised raise your hand. Anyone? Beuller?



posted on Nov, 11 2015 @ 09:34 AM
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a reply to: anzha

This is a fight that the mafia is going to loose. They are going to cut other procurement programs including the original F-35 buy for the bomber if necessary. They need them in a bad way and they have been screaming how the country "needs" this new bomber for some time now. The mafia might make a huge stink about it and it might mean we have to wait even longer after the protest is finished before we actually get to build them but it will happen.
My hope is that this internal fight between the fighter mafia and the rest of the DoD will expose some of problems inherit with the AF culture now a days and help bring the mafia down or reduce their decision making power.



posted on Nov, 11 2015 @ 11:43 AM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

Man im gonna be flying my Mach 4 commercial airliner before the F-35 finally makes it way to combat, at this rate!



posted on Nov, 11 2015 @ 11:45 AM
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a reply to: BigTrain

And this is a bad thing because....



posted on Nov, 11 2015 @ 11:50 PM
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You need big lift to fly in the shallow air of 50,000 plus feet.Long wing plans or area rule airframes win at those altitudes.For manouverability they equal big drag,hence why width wise wings are shorter.Its always a comprimise..




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