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DARPA's 2017 Shopping List Includes Hypersonics, a VTOL X Plane, TERN, Gremlins & more

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posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 10:30 AM
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DARPA is up to mischief again. In some cases, mischief that has been delayed by budgets and elsewhere.

1. AFRE (Advanced Full-Range Engine) seems to be taking over from the old MOTR. Both were/are engines that were supposed to work from subsonic all the way up through high supersonic or even potentially low hypersonic speeds. This sounds a lot like the concept Lockheed's SR-72 was supposed to work with. This is at the the (re)kick off stage with a request for $9 M.

2. Hypersonic weapons! DARPA has two hypersonic weapon programs requested. HAWC (Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept), a hypersonic scramjet powered cruise missile as I understand it and has requested $49.5M for completing the first CDR and ground tests of the hydrocarbon powered scramjet. DARPA has also asked for $22.8M for TBG (tactical boost glide weapon): an air launched, rocket powered hypersonic boost glide warhead. They want to launch from existing aircraft and be compatible with the Navy's VLS system. The TBG is intended to be test launched by the end of 2017.

3. Despite rumors of the XS-1 being canned in December, due to fuel danger problems, it seems DARPA has requested an additional $50.5M for the small sat launcher.

4. DARPA has also requested $52M for a VTOL X Plane with a selection on source *this* quarter and have a flying demo by the end of 2017. Is this something leaking in from the Black? Should we call the move from the black to white world 'white washing?'

5. TERN gets another $12M for CDR and assembly of the VTOL Predator equivalent for shipboard use on destroyers, cruisers and frigates.

6. Finally, at least for this post, Gremlins, the effort to design and build UAVs that can be launched and recovered in the air gets an additional $36M requested.

I am really intrigued with the VTOL X Plane. If its jet powered, I'd be really surprised given the time frames. Maybe its not?

aviationweek.com... N1000001399920&utm_campaign=5061&utm_medium=email&elq2=a2e2b4feeddd4ae28ebc75286be8a1c9




posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 11:12 AM
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a reply to: anzha

Wait till they put these guys in charge of maintenance and piloting…

Problems associated with conscience and feeling disappear.

It doesn't get happy, tired or sad… it just runs programs.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 11:15 AM
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a reply to: intrptr

You missed out on the newest one they just released:



The Robopocalypse is nigh!



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 11:29 AM
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originally posted by: anzha
DARPA is up to mischief again. In some cases, mischief that has been delayed by budgets and elsewhere.



4. DARPA has also requested $52M for a VTOL X Plane with a selection on source *this* quarter and have a flying demo by the end of 2017. Is this something leaking in from the Black? Should we call the move from the black to white world 'white washing?'



VARIOS. Seams like I've mentioned that before.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 11:34 AM
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a reply to: Sammamishman


How certain are you?

One of the bones to Lockheed to let the bomber contract go? The engines do seem to fit with the SR-72 concept they published a few years back now, too.

For those that don't know:

www.lockheedmartin.com...



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 11:46 AM
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a reply to: anzha

Can they armor that puppy up and stick a GAU 8 on it?



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 11:53 AM
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originally posted by: anzha
a reply to: Sammamishman


How certain are you?


www.lockheedmartin.com...


I won't say how I know but I'm VERY certain it is in some stage of development beyond mock-up.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 12:06 PM
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a reply to: anzha

They also mention 9M for the kick-off stage for #1. Since we know that something like that already exists, the 9M might be for minor refinements or to keep the aircraft flying for the next year or two and keep additional funds off the black project ledger for a while.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 12:12 PM
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a reply to: cavtrooper7

It'll be about ten years.

Power is the limiter as I understand it now.

However, combine that with VR goggles and a sat link...



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 12:13 PM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

Betcha that's a ground test of something already out there then. That might be how it gets whitewashed.

Test bits here and there in 'public' and then bring the rest in from the Dark.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 12:14 PM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

Its a good thing to have.

I'm curious why they'd go forward with TERN then.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 12:42 PM
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a reply to: anzha

It's my understanding that TERN is a lighter weight, slower, longer range, LO ISR platform with a small strike capability. VARIOS is more of a heavier, faster, shorter ranged VLO strike platform.
edit on 25-2-2016 by Sammamishman because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 01:37 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Living on the east coast, I spend most of my time reading about various sightings being filled with envy for you left coasters who get to see glimpes of our toys on the regular.

But then, whenever someone posts another crazy Boston Dynamics video, it gives me the warm and fuzzies all over knowing that they're in my town and all of their outdoors demonstrations are literally shot in the woods behind my old apartment.

So while I may not get to see all of the Skunk Works' new toys doing their thing, at least I know I'll have a front-row seat to the robot apocalypse.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 01:41 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Two slightly different missions. VARIOUS can carry 1,900 pounds to 25,000 feet, and 350 kts, and is more stealthy, but requires bigger platforms to operate off of. TERN is a MALE, designed to operate off destroyers, cruisers, or the LCS sized ships. VARIOUS requires a land based, CVN, or LH(A/D) to operate off of.
edit on 2/25/2016 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 02:15 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58



Interesting. The video seems to show VARIOUS off the back of destroyers.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 02:18 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Theoretically they could use Destroyers, but to be most effective, they'd need a larger platform. Vertical launch, even for a small platform like VARIOUS, doesn't work well with any kind of large payload. They could take off with a fuel load, but max takeoff could turn out to be problematical.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 02:33 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Makes sense.

I was just thinking of the Independence class: they have over 1,000 sq meters of flight deck and I think the Zumwalts are similar in size (flight deck wise).

The Freedoms and Burkes are smaller though.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 02:40 PM
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a reply to: anzha

That's one of the reasons TERN went with a tail sitter. Less deck space, and they can take off with a full payload of fuel and any ordnance it can carry. When the Harrier would hover, or do vertical maneuvering, they had to burn up to 60 gallons of distilled water in the engine for extra power.
edit on 2/25/2016 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 02:45 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

If TERN were to become a program of record and end up deployed, its supposed to have the same capabilities as the baseline predator. Was that part of the reason the Navy reconsidered the UCLASS? With a TERN (or three) on every deck not the carrier and with data links, the carrier didn't need to have the ISR mission.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 02:51 PM
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a reply to: anzha

It probably played a role in it. They watered down UCLASS to where it wasn't much more than a navalized Predator last year. It would be redundant with TERN.



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