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CNN Article on USAF SWITCHBLADE!

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posted on Jun, 24 2006 @ 05:19 PM
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Now this I would love to see in the skys!

An article from CNN News corp. Great read.

www.cnn.com...


So its got to be ready by 2020, supersonic and able to loiter long periods and then lay the supersonic slapdown on any target.... This has been discussed loads of times here on ATS, but boy oh boy....darpa have coughed up the money and works started on it...

Now one question...what about the aircraft called switchblade thats rumoured to be in service.. variable geometry and everything .. could it be that the plans for this craft were leaked before they even understood the concept?....A possible leak of the name maybe?

edited because i didnt spell blade right...DOH!
who knows, but this one is going to be on my wish list for seeing in the near future!


[edit on 24/6/06 by MadGreebo]


[edit on 24/6/06 by MadGreebo]




posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 01:43 AM
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MadGreebo,

Don't like it.

Don't see enough volume for all the systems/payload, even without the blood bag out front.

Wonder why you would want to penetrate when you could put a rocket motor on an SDB class munition and let the bullet go where the bot did or -could- not.

The French are developing a similar system, called 'fast-slow' which is designed to sprint supersonically to a target area and then loiter for 4-6hrs (some say much more) at 150 knots. The difference is that it doesn't have a 200ft wingspan whose stiffness is presumably largely a function of (nowhere else to go) fuel loads.

_Maneuver To Target Not To Engage_.

'Scouting' being a risky proposition without SR-71 class standoff suite, there is no point pretending that the ability to go in quick equates with the freedom to find and track your target /after/ you get there.

Overhead is nice but also not a mechanic-guarantee on TCTs while reliance on systems like the RQ-4 and E-8 or 10 only increase the 'target diversity' of HVA platforms which must both /get to/ the theater and survive (even at the peripheries) once there to give RISTA to the strike airframe. The EP-3E Aries fiasco shows what that can come down to.

Such are the inherent risks of 'big anything' as pseudo-strategic platforms-
1. They are SO valuable.
2. They are SO limited in what they can see, directly.

That they lose a lot of their utility as penetrators.

Which makes the nonsense of speedy-quick only relevant to the _transit phase_ (CONUS or Theater Basing) by which they arrive on station to assume their intimidation overwatch. You need only look at the hours-to-radius timelines on Chrome Dome to realize that Mach 2 means not a whole helluva lot more than Mach .9 over GLOBAL REACH distances.

In the end, I wish DARPA well. I just think that, having done the Oblique Wing thing once before-

t2www.nasa.r3h.net...

And 'living in a much larger world'; we need to look at assets which can either base much closer in (cough, tailhook) or be of such lower value as to not be afraid to lose when flown as a self-targeting fires delivery vehicle.


KPl.



posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 05:06 AM
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It's a very interesting program, but the PopSci article is a bit 'overhyped' IMO.

The program seems to be just another technology demonstrator program. First flight isn't anytime soon (2010 - 2011) and a production version is expected around 2020. By that time U(C)AV's will have taken over many duties of manned aircraft, while the OFW seems to be a manned vehicle.

They have experimented with this technology before, but never did anything with it, I doubt things will be different with this program. It's seems a rather fragile design, and would probably require quite a lot of maintenance also.

Back in March Northrop already released a press release about the OFW program, it contains the same info as the PopSci article. I wonder why the PopSci folks (again) named an experimental program Switchblade. Neither Northrop nor DARPA refer to it in their documents. Its a bit lame, cant they come up with a new catchy name?

The images by John MacNeill are awesome, though, he regulary makes images for PopSci, including the 'original' switchblade.


[edit on 6-25-2006 by Zion Mainframe]



posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 12:05 PM
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Originally posted by Zion Mainframe
The program seems to be just another technology demonstrator program. First flight isn't anytime soon (2010 - 2011) and a production version is expected around 2020. By that time U(C)AV's will have taken over many duties of manned aircraft, while the OFW seems to be a manned vehicle.


the popsci srticle suggests it could be an unmanned plane.



The Switchblade, however, is a good candidate to be an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The artificial intelligence used to control UAVs can handle the tricky flight dynamics, and a computer pilot doesn't need to eat, rest, or go to the bathroom -- useful for those 15-plus-hour missions.


justin



posted on Jun, 26 2006 @ 09:27 AM
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Is a 15-20 year development time frame normal for this sort of thing?

What jets have been developed in the past that started out with the project team saying 'we can have this ready in 20 years'? I am sure that some jets have a history that extends over that much time, but, are there many where its known from that start that it will take that long?

How can you even project something taking that long? Seems like it would require one to say 'we dont' know how to do it, at all', no?



posted on Jun, 26 2006 @ 06:53 PM
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Originally posted by Nygdan
Is a 15-20 year development time frame normal for this sort of thing?

20 years?
They are talking about having it become operational in 14 years. With "First Flight" in 5 years. These numbers seem pretty realistic, considering the complexity of the project.

I believe the F-22A Raptor took nearly 20 years from concept to operational.

and Zion Mainframe this will be a UCAV.

I think its a good concept, It gives you the capability of a predator like loiter, with the speed of the F-22.


Also Zion, Whats with the PopSci bashing? As this link clearly says...Dapra is calling it Switchblade...that name wasn't just made up by popsci.

DARPA's TTO looking for innovative SwitchBlade proposals



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