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America’s hush-hush little black triangle

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posted on Mar, 1 2006 @ 09:21 AM
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original research by me.

First word to mention is Aurora….

Picture believed to be of a preceeding UCAV demonstrator for Raytheon which may form the basis for the Excalibur

Aurora Flight Sciences is an established UAV manufacturer with several facilities throughout America: www.hiflight.com...

They work on numerous established UAV projects like Global Hawk, Hunter II, Mars Flyer and Golden Eye. What they don’t advertise very much is their work on Excalibur, a stealthy UCAV to supercede the weaponized Predator. That’s not to say that Excalibur is completely secret, just that it’s not widely advertised. There site makes scant mention of what is arguably their most ‘sexy’ product. Their public info is vague, without overt pictures and located here: www.aurora.aero...

A sub-scale airframe can be seen on this publicity picture though. It is probably not of the Excalibur but is presumably linked:


The development is funded by US government (Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate) and valued at $20 million on a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract basis. The first flight of the sub-scale demonstrator is expected in 2007 although work is clearly largely complete. Note that it is an ARMY project not Air Force.

Aurora FS do however publish these basic performance stats for it:
Wingspan: 21ft
Gross Weight: 2,600lb
Payload weight: 400lb
Endurance: 3hrs
Ceiling: 40,000ft
Speed: 460kts

The quoted 400lb payload sounds small but it is designed to be compatible with Hellfire, Joint Common Missile and Viper Strike weapons.

The aircraft has vertical take-off (VTOL) capability with lift power provided by some kind of Electrical driven device (presumably a lift fan(s)) whilst forward flight is by jet engine; this has led to the coining of “turbine-electric hybrid propulsion system”.

In terms of layout the Excalibur is likeky to follow Aurora's previous UCAV demonstrators in being a tailess delta with jagged trailing edge.



However, I am not aware of any pictures of the Excalibur being released.

No doubt this is a system we will hear more about in the coming years.


[edit on 1-3-2006 by planeman]




posted on Mar, 1 2006 @ 09:35 AM
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Nice research planeman...
Any idea on control systems?



posted on Mar, 1 2006 @ 09:46 AM
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I wonder if this is related too the infamous "Baby B-2" people that have been staking out Area 51 have reported for years.

I even remember a few people I know that work at Northtrop mentioning a "Baby B-2"



posted on Mar, 1 2006 @ 10:21 AM
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A quick correction; the first two pictures are not Excalibur but a different UCAV demonstrator built by Aurora for Raytheon; I’m not sure about the second two.

www.aurora.aero...

A video can be found of it flying here;

www.athenati.com...



posted on Mar, 1 2006 @ 10:31 AM
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planeman,

Do you know that your thread title is a little bit obscene?

I'm sorry, I couldn't help smiling after reading it. Damnit, I'm a bad bad boy.



posted on Mar, 1 2006 @ 10:42 AM
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Thanks Mike, good info as usual. But my hunch is that Excalibur is a follow-on to that intital sub-scale demonstrator. The first picture does come from a magazine article where it was pitched as Excalibur, or at least Excalibur related. Do you have any more info on either that can shed light on the connection?



posted on Mar, 1 2006 @ 10:44 AM
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Originally posted by northwolf
Any idea on control systems?


Only that basic flight wil be autominous rather than remotely piloted, although overall control like target designation wil almost certainly be via real time datalink.



posted on Mar, 1 2006 @ 11:04 AM
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Do you mean this article? …

www.aurora.aero...

The first two pictures definitely show the Raytheon UCAV, as far as I know there aren’t many pictures of Excalibur so in that regard the article is a little misleading. Below the first picture (in the article) it says “A sub-scale UCAV demonstrator preceded Excalibur.” I think this refers to the Raytheon aircraft.

Aurora may have bought the design or just used aspects of it or whatever but I don’t think there’s much more of a connection than that.



posted on Mar, 1 2006 @ 11:10 AM
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Being an outsider by any means on the subject of aircraft projects, I have to wonder. The group is called Aurora, the device under question is triangle shapped, and the Aurora is said to be roughly triangular, so is there any connection between the two? Isn't the aurora supposed to be able to move at right angles, and what is vtol if not orthoganol movement? This thing couldn't be mistaken for the Aurora though no? Is it possible that the Aurora is a 'full sized' stealthy ucav with this bizzare jet-and-fan engine with its right-angle movements?



posted on Mar, 1 2006 @ 11:17 AM
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Originally posted by Nygdan
Being an outsider by any means on the subject of aircraft projects, I have to wonder. The group is called Aurora, the device under question is triangle shapped, and the Aurora is said to be roughly triangular, so is there any connection between the two? Isn't the aurora supposed to be able to move at right angles, and what is vtol if not orthoganol movement? This thing couldn't be mistaken for the Aurora though no? Is it possible that the Aurora is a 'full sized' stealthy ucav with this bizzare jet-and-fan engine with its right-angle movements?


Or it’s a front for the real project. Wouldn’t it be convenient to have something like fill all the gaps all of a sudden? After all, the term "Aurora" was not supposed to ever be released, this could be a reactive way to deal with the problem



posted on Mar, 1 2006 @ 11:21 AM
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The stories on Aurora the black project go way back, well before the company's project began. The Excalibur also won't fly in any form until around 2007 so there's unlikely to be any connection.

Personally I'm not sold on anything to do with Aurora these days, way back when there was probably something to do with an aircraft called Aurora but the hype and rumours that have built up over the years have distorted it so much that the public perception of it is nothing remotely like the real thing. Sorry, rant over.

Edit - Skippy, Aurora is the company's name not the aircraft's.

[edit on 1-3-2006 by Mike_A]



posted on Mar, 2 2006 @ 06:26 AM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
I wonder if this is related too the infamous "Baby B-2" people that have been staking out Area 51 have reported for years.


Not quite!

The so-called Baby B-2 got it's name because it looks exactly like a B-2 but it's smaller (1/2 or 1/3 scale if I remember correctly). It was these reports that lead me to the conclusion that the B-2 has a connection to Area 51. Some people believe that these mini stealth bombers might have been part of Northrop bid for the ATA (A-12 Avenger) contract. The aircraft in quetion doesn't look like the B-2.

Tim



posted on Mar, 2 2006 @ 08:40 PM
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Originally posted by Nygdan
Isn't the aurora supposed to be able to move at right angles, and what is vtol if not orthoganol movement? This thing couldn't be mistaken for the Aurora though no? Is it possible that the Aurora is a 'full sized' stealthy ucav with this bizzare jet-and-fan engine with its right-angle movements?


What is commonly thought of as the Aurora would not be able to do right angle turns... In fact, far from it.

The Aurora would be like a SR-71 on steroids. It would be made for extreme speeds, and do this at the cost of manueverabillity.



posted on Mar, 4 2006 @ 10:54 AM
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Nice plane man very nice find.


i love it when they put out a little info and keep it very very low key, almost like a subtle job advertisement for new recruits.. "Heres our sexy new work, come join us" type of thing.

UCAVS are the way forward for the air forces of tomorrow, and myself, I thing they are well smart!

[edit on 4-3-2006 by MadGreebo]



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