People here need to be aware that there are at least two different kinds of flight systems being reported here, and it is important to not confuse the
First, the aircraft seen while refueling near Knoxville (and which supposedly resembles one of the Schenkenberg illustrations and/or a super XB-70)
is-assuming it's real-clearly just an airplane. Obviously, a very fast airplane; it could probably cruise at speeds between Mach 3 and 6, depending
on the propulsion system. I have argued elsewhere that an airframe like the XB-70 or SR-71, which we know can cruise at Mach 3+ with 1960's era
turboramjets, could cruise at Mach 5 to 6 with the same wing loading and L/D at higher altitudes with engines that had about twice the specific
thrust. Using Borane zip fuels is an obvious and relatively easy way to do that, assuming you're willing to pay a higher price for fuel.
So that's why I say the Knoxville aircraft could conceivably be the Green Lady that just happened to be caught cruising subsonically while refueling.
Or not. It could be a different airplane altogether. I'm not sure how many secret, black program aircraft we have flying at any given time, so I was
just applying Occam's razor and suggesting we could explain two different sightings with one airframe.
On the other hand, we have the Brilliant/Black Buzzard (BBB). Given that it exists, it is IMHO, NOT a "super XB-70". The BBB would need to be a
trans-atmospheric vehicle (TAV). Various NASA studies have shown that in order to be of any use for a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) system, the first
stage (the booster) needs to get up to about Mach 10 to 12 AND it needs to get the second stage above as much of the atmosphere as possible before
separating from it. That means that when it is launching the second stage, it is not cruising; it is zooming to its maximum speed (M ≈ 10) and
separation altitude (≈ 100,000 ft) and then pickling off the second stage. After that, it coasts to its maximum altitude (≈ 200,000 ft.),
re-enters the atmosphere, decelerates, and then cruises back to its landing site under turbojet power. Again, NASA studies have shown that you could
do that with a turbo-ram-rocket propulsion system. LOX-Methane would be a good combination for that.
An XB-70 type configuration would be crappy at re-entry from Mach 10. Thin wings with sharp leading edges are really efficient for cruising at Mach
6, but would have to be made from unobtainium to avoid melting off at Mach 10. Also, at 200,000 ft. altitude wings and tail fins are useless. A
smooth underbody is required-no underbody nacelles. A TAV would have to maintain attitude control at very high angles of attack (≈ 45 degrees) the
same way the Space Shuttle did-with reaction control thrusters and body flaps. A double-delta planform was chosen for the Space Shuttle for exactly
For all of those reasons, the left hand configuration shown at the Dreamlandresort.com site
makes a lot of sense. It has a double delta planform. It has relatively large radius wing leading edges. It has segmented heat resistant tiles on
the leading edges. It has twin tails on the wing tips where they are not shadowed by the body at high angles of attack and where they would not
interfere with the second stage separation. It also appears to have a lot more wing area than it needs to just carry its own weight, suggesting that
it has excess lift capacity for an external payload.
Given that you have a reusable first stage booster capable of getting to Mach 10 and 200,000 ft., you could use it in several different ways. For
example, you could use it as an ISR platform. You could put a weapon pod on top and use it as a quick reaction weapon delivery system, by itself. You
could put a rocket stage on top and go all the way to orbit with it. Or, you could put a hypersonic glider on top.
For that reason, the vehicle sketch shown in
and described as being seen at an FOB in Iraq could also make sense. It basically shows a high L/D, high speed lifting body. It doesn't have enough
internal volume to contain enough fuel to get to high speeds by itself so that suggests that it is a glider when at high speed. However, the stealthy
inlets and exhaust imply that it is capable of flying under its own power, at least for short durations, presumably for recovery and landing. A
vehicle like this could perform some of the same missions as the single stage, Prompt Global Strike hypersonic glider that was sighted off the coast
of Wales and England, about 8 or 10 years ago.
For example, flying over Iran.
a reply to: ridgerunner